If Italo Ferrari can pull off what he hopes to pull off on the old Sault Area Hospital site on Queen Street in Sault Ste. Marie's downtown, the result will be more than just another housing project.
The Woodbridge, Ont. developer and asset manager dreams of a sleek, freestanding new neighbourhood there, with residential, retail and health-care components.
Recently erected signs promoting his Leisure Meadows and Water's Edge Villas redevelopment projects are generating four or five calls a day from people wanting to know more, Ferrari told SooToday.
Ferrari is general manager of Leisure Meadows Community Living Inc., which bought the former hospital buildings along the river in May, 2019 from Amit Sofer, president of TVM Group.
Subject to city council approval, Ferrari wants to turn the old General Hospital building into a 200-or-more-bed, long-term care facility.
The main floor there will be largely retail, with an expected emphasis on medical supplies.
The five-storey Plummer renal unit will be converted to 85 apartments with garden penthouses on the top floor and underground parking beneath.
Then, in what used to be the Sault Area Hospital parking lots, Ferrari envisions about 50 luxury townhouses: two-storey villas facing the river, three storeys high at the back, all backing onto the five-storey renal building.
Exploiting the terrain elevation and building design, Ferrari said each housing unit will offer a view of the St. Marys River.
He's also acquired a nearby medical centre and will be incorporating it into the hospital redevelopment project.
The project's design team consists of Sault architect David Ellis with intern architects Sophie Mackey and Cristy Sosa.
"We intend to bring new life to a site that has been unoccupied and deteriorating for years, ultimately rejuvenating the neighbourhood,” said Ellis.
”This project is the redevelopment of a site formerly occupied by two hospitals. As it is located on the waterfront of the St. Marys River, the site has great potential for metamorphosis into a new standalone neighbourhood, with mixed building sizes and building types."
"Elements include a high-end apartment complex and approximately 50 rental townhouses, that have all been designed to take advantage of the views to the waterfront."
The Hub Trail will continue to be an important fixture on the property.
"A community recreational trail runs through the site and this will become an important access and arrival point along its length," Ellis said.