Downtown Windsor on October 1, 2015. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Windsor Council Committee Pleased With Downtown Strategy

According to the report presented to the committee at its meeting Monday, the city is looking at a total potential investment of about $59.3-million.

That news pleases committee chairman Ward 8 Councillor Bill Marra.

“It’s been very impressive,” says Marra. “It’s a classic example of where municipal government can play a meaningful role around a policy that really opens up the opportunity for the private sector to invest.”

Some of the highlights of the proposed developments include a total of 179 new residential units coming to the downtown core. 120 of those would be built on a current parking lot at Victoria Ave. and Park St. W. Other highlights include seven new retail storefronts and 163 refurbished hotel rooms, with the former Radisson Hotel on Riverside Dr. W.

Those projects have yet to be approved by city council.

Marra says the incentive program is already paying dividends.

“For every dollar of incentive that the municipality is providing, there’s almost an $8 return on that,” says Marra. “Clearly it’s been successful and what we need to do is continue to keep our ear to the ground and get the feedback we’ve been getting from the private sector, and so far it looks like we’ve been meeting all of their needs.”

Marra says based on that return alone, it’s almost a given that council should sign off on continuing the program once the current funds are exhausted.

Another project under consideration is the transformation of the former Don Cherry’s bar and restaurant on Pelissier St. into a retail and residential complex. That one is up before city council for a $528,244 tax increment grant and a $125,000 program grant.