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Developer now expecting to build on riverfront

June 1, 2018 – Paul Morden, The Observer –

Tricar Group has changed its plans for downtown Sarnia and now says it will move ahead with developing a 15-storey apartment building at the vacant former Sarnia Gazette site on the city’s waterfront.

Earlier this year, the city approved rezoning for a 12-storey and 126-unit apartment building project Tricar, a London-based developer, proposed for the corner of London Road and Christina Street but the company said this week it will now move first on plans for a riverfront site on Front Street it has owned since 2008.

“We’re going to build both of them, but the fact of the matter is this one, we can get started on sooner,” Tricar president Joe Carapella said about the Front Street project.

He said Sarnia has been a “great market” for the company.

In recent years, the London developer has built high-rises on the edge of Sarnia’s downtown at 350 and 392 Front St.

The former home of the Sarnia Gazette, at 275 Front St., was demolished more than a decade ago and some site preparation work for a project by another developer began before the land was sold to Tricar.

He said Tricar stopped adding names to a waiting list for one of its existing buildings in Sarnia after it reached 100.

“There’s an incredible demand for units in Sarnia, on the water.”

Carapella said.

“We’re very excited about this new project, and we hope to get started as soon as we get approvals from the city.”

The project is expected to create approximately 130 apartments, Carapella said.

In a press release, he talked about Sarnia’s waterfront, parks, dining and other attractions.

“There is a healthy market for this type of development and the unique opportunity to live on the river and enjoy the amazing views.”

Tricar said it is currently finalizing approvals with the city for the project on Front Street and work could begin as early as this summer.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said the former Gazette property is “the last piece of land on the waterfront that is zoned for development.”

Bradley said he spoke with Carapella last week who indicated the company expects to come to city council in June or early July with plans for Front Street.

“They move quickly,” Bradley said.

“He knows the market’s there” and that “people want to be downtown and close to the waterfront,” Bradley said.

Bradley said he’s confident Carapella’s company will also move ahead with the project at London Road and Christina Street.

“And he’s actually even looking, in the longer term, at some other properties,” Bradley said.

“He’s really sold on Sarnia.”

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