Construction activity resumes in Owen Sound

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Construction activity in Owen Sound continues to surpass the record year of 2020.

City hall issued three dozen building permits last month, bringing the total construction value of permits issued in the first quarter of 2021 to $ 9.4 million, nearly triple the value recorded in the same period. in 2020.

And the increase in value comes as many large-scale construction projects continue to take shape in the city.

Sections of 16th Avenue East and 9th Avenue East are now hives of construction activity, with large and small-scale projects underway on both sides of the streets.

Owen Sound Mayor Ian Boddy said he was excited and relieved to see so much construction happening, especially in light of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think some people might be surprised because it’s COVID, however, our planning department hasn’t slowed down over the past year, a year and a half. So all these projects are underway and we see them coming, ”he said on Tuesday.

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“This is certainly what we have been trying to achieve for the past few years: new residential construction and commercial development.”

Owen Sound’s Building Department issued permits in 2020 for a combined construction value of $ 67 million. That number has only been exceeded once before – a decade earlier, when permits totaling $ 71 million were issued.

But for every month of 2021 so far, the construction value of permits issued has been higher than in the same month of the previous year.

Permits worth just over $ 5 million were issued in March, a fourfold increase from the value recorded in March 2020.

Five of the permits were for new single-family homes, while a major permit was approved to convert existing commercial space on the second floor at 837 2nd Ave. E. in eight apartments.

Commercially, a permit has been issued for a new 437 square meter veterinary office at 1393 16th Ave.E., while modification permits have been approved to create a new take-out ice cream shop in the back. of the building Foto Art. and a new pizzeria at 950 2nd Ave. E.

Owen Sound received a permit to set up a 911 dispatch office in its works department building, while Walmart obtained a demolition permit to remove a used oil system, drains and other infrastructure that had been used for the automotive section of the store.

Heritage permits were issued last month to demolish the rectory of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and to replace the roof of the city’s old courthouse on East 3rd Avenue.

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Large-scale projects that are now well underway in Owen Sound include work by Gray Bruce Property Rentals to convert the old Strathcona Public School into an 80 unit apartment. The company is working to get the building ready for occupancy in November.

Along 9th Avenue East, the five floors are now fitted out for the 60-unit Owen Sound Housing Company building in Odawa Heights. The organization anticipates that the building, which will consist of 44 “affordable” units and 16 units at market rental rates, will be completed in November.

Further up the street, work continues on Graham Construction’s Ninth Avenue Estates, which will feature 19 townhouses for the 55 and over market.

A trio of single-family homes are under construction just steps away – in the 2500 block of 9th Avenue East.

On 16th Avenue East, work continues on Southbridge Care Home’s 160-bed long-term care facility, which the company hopes to complete by summer 2022.

Graham Construction is also the contractor for this project.

CEO Richard Graham said the $ 30 million construction was the largest design and build project ever undertaken by an Owen Sound company in the city’s history.

At any given time, the site will have between 50 and 60 workers, he said, and construction has doubled Graham Construction’s staff.

“Due to the size of the project, there aren’t many local subcontractors large enough to handle the work, but Graham was able to hire more subs, consultants and people than usual to a project of this size, ”he said, noting that the relationship between Graham Construction and Southbridge Care Homes dates back to the 1960s when Southbridge, then Petersen’s Nursing Home, retained Owen Sound to complete their first project. major renovation.

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The home will create around 100 new long-term care jobs in Owen Sound, he said, and add 90 new beds in the area.

Near the Southbridge project site, AndPet Realty is continuing work on its four-storey, 126-unit Owen Sound Gardens retirement residence, which is scheduled for completion in spring 2022. Construction is part of the subdivision proposed by AndPet East Court Residences, which is to include 27 semi-detached apartments and 57 townhouses.

Boddy said he forecasts 2021 to be another banner year for Owen Sound’s construction division and could turn out to be even better than 2020.

He said several housing projects are in the planning stage or have been completed, but have not yet reached the construction stage.

“Around the hospital; certainly AndPet is going ahead with his project and there is another 9e Avenue that may be going this year, ”he said.

Gray Bruce Property Rentals hopes to complete the conversion of the old Strathcona School to an 80 unit apartment by the end of the year.  ROB GOWAN
Gray Bruce Property Rentals hopes to complete the conversion of the old Strathcona School to an 80 unit apartment by the end of the year. ROB GOWAN

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