Hospital lands for sale, getting “lots” of inquiries

Eleven residential lots on the former Sarnia General Hospital grounds have been sold and new home builds are underway. Troy Shantz

Troy Shantz

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.”