Former Ledo Hotel could become housing for the homeless after redevelopment plan fails
After an ambitious redevelopment plan failed, the owner of the former Ledo Hotel in downtown Sudbury is looking at other options.
In fall 2020, a group emerged proposing to rename the complex 'Le Ledo' and turn the building into a 150,000-square-foot office tower.
But the building's owner said Monday that’s no longer happening.
"All of their options for purchasing have expired, so as far as I’m concerned, that project's dead," said George Soule.
A month after the Le Ledo announcement, the building was closed due to safety issues following a small fire.
Soule said at the time, it was easier to keep the building closed than fix it. Now with the sale to developers falling through, he said it's time to take another approach.
"Back to the basics," said Soule. "Low-income, small units --there’s 27 that could be ready probably in six months with an architect … and then another 20 units within two years."
Converting the Ledo into transitional housing will cost at least $5 million, Soule said.
"The process right now is to go after CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) funding because it's very difficult to fund a project like this -- extremely difficult," he said.
"CMHC funding, we’re competing with all of Canada and so any support that I can get behind this project, that’s what we’re actively doing now. I’ve hired a person … who has experience with CMHC funding. I’ve hired a cost estimator, so we’re moving along the project that way."
Soule has the support of Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc, who said it's a significant opportunity to address the city's homelessness problem -- right beside where other key services are offered.
"We as a city cannot solve this issue on our own," Leduc said. "We need to bring in developers, independent individuals to help solve this issue."
He said he’s hopeful a partnership can be quickly established between Soule and the city.
"I think we, as council and city staff, can move this along properly and hopefully see this come to fruition over the next year two years even," he said.
There are local funds available to redevelop such properties, Leduc said, such as façade funding and five-year tax deferrals.
The investment group behind the Junction East project said in a news release a motion to be presented at city council Tuesday night has added another layer of uncertainty to how it will proceed.
The group said it's not commercially reasonable to continue to the next stage until the proposed new downtown library and art gallery are confirmed to be moving ahead.
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