New home construction could begin as soon as this summer on the former Sarnia General Hospital site, developers say.
The plan, which includes 11 residential lots facing Essex Street and two large commercial blocks, was approved by city council earlier this month.
The last of the hospital buildings fell in November and crews continue to dig out footings embedded almost 20-feet deep in the 4.67-acre site, said Mark Lumley, one of five local investors behind GFive Inc.
“First priority is demolish the buildings and get the site back into developable condition. And then put something there that the community needs and wants,” he said, noting about 90% of aggregate and metal is being recycled
GFive purchased the only house in the block of Essex Street and deepened the property to line up with the 11 new lots, Lumley said.
The new lots will be purchased either by a developer or individually.
Council also approved sewer separation and road resurfacing on Essex Street, between Mitton and Mackenzie streets.
The $885,000 project is expected to begin this spring and will coincide with the residential lot development, Lumley said.
“When that project is all done, the pavements will be new, the sidewalks will be new… it will be really nice along there.”
Uses for the two commercial blocks on the southern part of the site are still undecided, Lumley noted.
Medical offices and an addiction withdrawal management centre have been considered, but GFive wants to hear from the community again before proceeding, Lumley said.
“We don’t care, we just want to see what the public wants there. There’s lots of opportunities.”
The hospital lands include a former records building south of George Street. It’s receiving new windows and other improvements and is ready for tenants, he said.
Sarnia agreed to sell the derelict hospital and its lands to GFive for $1,000 in 2016. In return, the city agreed to give the developers $5.4 million to raze, remediate and rebuild on the site.