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Old General Hospital sold in Sault Ste. Marie

New owner, Italo Ferrari, outlines plans for waterfront buildings.

Sault Ste. Marie's neglected former General Hospital site has a new owner.

Leisure Meadows Community Living Inc., based in Vaughan, Ont., bought the building on May 24 for an undisclosed price from Amit Sofer, president of TVM Group.

Leisure Meadows is a subsidiary of Wilsondale Assets Management Inc., which has 2.5 million square feet of southern Ontario office, retail/commercial, industrial properties and vacant development land, including an 11-storey commercial tower in St. Catharines and the 11-storey building that houses the Windsor office of Sutherland Global Services Inc.

Italo Ferrari, Wilsondale's founder and general manager, was in the Sault on June 7 for a property standards appeal related to the former hospital site.

The company signed a conditional agreement in January to purchase the Sault waterfront properties.

It now owns both the former General Hospital site and the former Plummer Hospital renal unit.

TVM Group picked up the property in 2013 for $65,000 and then renovated the former Plummer site into condominiums.
More recently, the waterfront buildings have fallen into serious disrepair and TVM has been fighting city-issued compliance orders requiring the remaining General site and former renal unit be properly maintained.
Ferrari said that, while the project would be a challenge, the buildings are in good shape.
He's working with local architect Franco Pastore from IDEA Inc. to develop a master plan for the two buildings.
"There will be some residential, some special uses for the facility," Ferrari said.
"We're going to be spending the next month or so to come up with specifics. The moment that it's ready we'll publish."
The project may have a small commercial component, but it's likely to be something like a coffee shop or convenience store, just for residents living there.
"We're excited. We want to make sure that we do the right job for Sault Ste. Marie. We have never failed. I've done a lot of developments. North Bay, St. Catharines, Oshawa, all over the place. I have never let anybody down. I'm hoping Sault Ste. Marie will be one of them as well."
Following the June 7 property standards hearing, city officials and the new owner struck a deal and jointly submitted an agreed-on order specifying timelines for maintenance work to be done on the site.
Ferrari has retained Wright Time Contracting of Sault Ste. Marie, which has already been working on the site.
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