A Toronto real estate broker has discussed ideas with the owners of the former Sarnia General Hospital lands that include a three-storey building with 146 rental units.
“I think the economics are there,” said Bob Drizis, owner of Taylorwood Realty.
The George Street land is owned by GFive Inc. Its principals – Charles Dally, Alex Jongsma, Mark Lumley, Kenn Poore and the late Marty Raaymakers – purchased 7.5 acres from the City of Sarnia for $1,000 in 2017.
Sarnia then gave the company $5.4 million to remove the derelict, asbestos-filled hospital building and restore the site for future development.
GFIVE severed 3.3 acres earlier this year and that cleaned-up land is now for sale.
The remaining property – a strip of 11 residential lots on Essex Street and a 7,000-square-foot medical building on George Street – has been retained, said GFive member Kenn Poore.
The 11 lots were sold to a homebuilder and four have buyers, Poore said.
GFive has also invested $1 million in the former Lambton Public Health building across the street from the severed land. The building, geared for medical uses, has a new HVAC, roof, and freshly paved 60-car parking lot, he said.
The first doctor has already moved in.
Drizis believes the L-shaped property that remains is ideal for a residential building, although current zoning allows “20 to 30” potential uses, he said.
“Along with crisis care, retirement, seniors, commercial uses, the one that stands out for me is multi-family rental,” he said.
Drizis said out-of-town investors see the city’s potential. Oakville-based Seasons Retirement is planning a large residence in the downtown core, and London-based Tricar is building a 15-storey apartment building on Front Street, he noted.
The former hospital land is receiving inquiries, he said.
“It’s getting noticed. I’m getting lots of calls.”