Toronto developer is cashing in on student housing downtown

The apartments would go some way in answering the long desired need for new downtown housing as well as the desire to keep students in the city core after class time.

As well, the apartments are located along a busy downtown corridor, with lots restaurants and bars in the immediate vicinity, a mecca for millennials and creative class types who want to live in dense urban centres.

The apartments are being carved out of two buildings on Chatham Street East and West.

On Chatham Street East, four two-bedroom apartments are being built above the former Kilt & Fiddle Irish Pub, which some people might remember as the one time Plunketts.

According to David Pistagnesi, senior project manager with Windsor architectural firm Baird AE, the apartments will be high-ceilinged with 13 ft. ceilings, skylights, en suite baths.

“They’ll be more geared to students and professors, the academic world,” he said.

There will be “nice views” of the river.

Meanwhile, Pistagnesi said the restaurant-bar down below, now empty, will eventually be leased with hopes for a new eating-drinking establishment.

Meanwhile, on the west side of Ouellette Ave., a similar revamp of the floors above the currently empty Pour House Pub, originally Ye Olde Steak House, is well underway.

There, two floors of apartments above the pub are being transformed into apartments, where there will be five units on each floor.

“Again they’ll be geared more towards students,” Pistagnesi said.

“And I believe he (Tam) is going to be renting them out furnished as well.”

The empty pub space below would also be leased, presumably for a bar or restaurant, in a plan to regenerate a once busy restaurant corridor.

“We’re looking at them being completed in the spring although work has been going slow, frankly,” Pistagnesi said.

Meanwhile, the Old Fish Market and Loop building, further west on the corner of Chatham and Ferry streets will likely see the upstairs converted to apartments as well.

“The second floor there would be apartments and on the main floor (Tam) has always been talking about a food court,” he said. 

Pistagnesi said as many as 12 apartments could be built there, also two bedrooms with en suite baths and skylights.

He didn’t know when work would begin.

“He (Tam) hasn’t given us the go ahead to finish the working drawings yet on those, we’ve already done preliminary drawings.”

That building is immediately across the street from the university’s new social work and professional and executive education centre, which opened more than a year ago.

The university’s School of Creative Arts (SoCA) will open this September in the former Windsor Armouries and a new, stand-alone building across the street from the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel plaza, a short block away from the Chatham St. East apartments, and only a couple of blocks from the other Tam buildings.

Tam, for his part, has reportedly been working with the city on the Fish Market/Loop development after accusing city administration of being “anti-business” because of its demands for architectural details for the building.

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