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Blitz Jan 20, 2006 8:34 PM

WINDSOR | Construction - News and Development
Welcome to the official thread for everything Windsor!

Blitz Jan 20, 2006 10:45 PM

Here's some of what's going on...

Expansion to Casino Windsor: A 100,000 sq ft convention centre, 5000 seat theatre, and 23 storey hotel. Much of the existing casino will also be renovated. Work should be completed in late 2007.

Portofino Condominium: 17 floor luxury condo tower overlooking the river between downtown and the university. Should be completed late this year.

Walker Lofts: An old warehouse once owned by the Walker whiskey distillery is being converted to condos. Completion is likely to be late 2007.

Downtown west Urban Village: This is a proposed development for a large area on the western edge of downtown. 3-4 storey rowhomes are being proposed interspersed with commercial buildings. The land was originally expropriated for an arena in 1989 (don't ask).

Urban residential infill is ongoing throughout the city. These new faux-historic townhomes have been popular in the Walkerville 'hood.

Blitz Jan 20, 2006 10:47 PM

The University of Windsor has announced the construction of a new $53M Engineering building at the intersection of Wyandotte and California.
Article below is from

The University of Windsor’s Board of Governors has unanimously approved plans to proceed with the design of the first phase of a state-of-the-art engineering building that would provide classrooms, undergraduate laboratories and meeting space for the university’s more than 1,300 engineering students.

“This is a great day for the University of Windsor and for the City of Windsor,” says President Ross Paul. “A new engineering facility fits precisely into our strategic plan To Greater Heights, and responds to our region’s need to create research and development opportunities to help secure a strong economic future.”

According to Dr. Paul, if the Board approves construction of the project, work can begin by May, 2007 with an estimated occupancy date of January, 2009.

“Windsor is an automotive city,” says Faculty of Engineering Dean Graham Reader. “Our campus needs a top-notch engineering facility that gives our students and faculty the tools they need to help our region meet research and innovation needs in the years to come. It’s a great investment in our region and a tremendous vote of confidence for the future of our university.”

The Board has approved design costs of up to $4 million for a 160,000 square foot facility with an estimated build cost of $53 million. The design phase of the project is expected to take up to a year. At the same meeting, the group approved a long-term financing strategy to take advantage of low interest rates.

The plan would see the university borrow $102 million in bonds, allowing it to pay off $50 million in outstanding loans and leaving $52 million for capital expansion projects. The restructuring allows the university to maintain its annual debt payment of $6.2 million by deferring payment on the loan’s principal for 40 years. Under this plan the Board would set aside $800,000 annually to cover the principal at the end of the term.

“We must ensure that we build a future for our students,” says Board of Governors Chair Marty Komsa. “This is a responsible plan that allows the university to grow while still leaving us with a debt-per-student ratio lower than most Canadian universities.”

Jeff LaPorte, president of the University of Windsor Students' Alliance, hails the move as "the right step forward for the university."

"This new building marks the beginning of a new era. Together with the debt refinancing, it should bring the university to greater heights,” LaPorte says.

The next step in the process will be a request for proposals from architects. Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis offered congratulations to the university for its role in securing the future of the city.

“When future investors come to our region,” he says, “it will be because we can provide them with first-rate leadership in high-tech research and development, a knowledgeable and skilled workforce for manufacturing, and a community that is vigorously educating the innovators of tomorrow.”

arnold Jan 21, 2006 1:45 AM

hey awesome... a windsor site. nice.

but as for that $500M rail realignment... from what i can remember from months ago... i personally believe that moving the VIA station out to the airport is a horrible idea. i mean, most of people who will be using the new station probably won't care where its located, since they'll be tourists from michigan getting dropped off by car. but one of the major advantages of rail travel for inter-city travel is that it drops you off in the downtown core. close to the major amenities. like in almost every other city along the windsor-quebec corridor. except maybe hamilton... but they have a good excuse.
this new set up means that visitors to windsor who arrive by train will be a $20.00 cab ride from downtown. minimum.

i would have been thrilled if they had of ADDED a stop at the airport (and oh, how i wish that toronto would get around to doing that), but to totally remove the walkerville station, sucks.
i mean, besides freeing up the land used for track beds and the removal of all of those at grade crossings out on the east end, what benifit does this hold for the city? besides making it more suburban and car dependent?

Tony Jan 21, 2006 4:07 AM

Though it's faux-historic, that infill doesn't look too shabby!

Blitz Jan 21, 2006 5:11 PM

Arnold, there are two possible locations: the airport, and Wellington Road near Wyandotte. They'll be abandoning the whole rail line from Windsor to Chatham since it's only being used by Via. I see your point about the station needing to be near downtown but I think the benefits of this plan are huge. We'll get rid of dozens of at-grade crossings in Windsor/Essex, and the east side of the metro will no longer be cut in half by these tracks.

The only sensible use for the old rail line IMO is a bike path. The current path that meanders along the river ends at Walker Road and the Ganatchio Trail ends at Lauzon Road. So all we'd need to do is connect those two through the use of this line and we'd have a 20km crosstown bike path from the Bridge all the way to the east city limits. There has been some talk of light rail but I'm not sure the market is big enough to support that. Anyway, here's an article that appeared this morning:

Via Rail scouts Windsor site
Options include area near airport and old depot near Wellington Road

By Dave Battagello
The Windsor Star
Jan. 21, 2006

Via Rail has been scouting possible sites for a new rail station in Windsor, according to a spokeswoman for the passenger service.
“We are looking at a number of options, but no decision has been made,” said Catherine Kaloutsky.
“We recognize with the Windsor station there is a need to upgrade and improve. But no decisions have been made on relocation.”
A $500-million federal plan calls for the 90-kilometre CN rail line used largely by Via passenger trains between Windsor and Chatham to be abandoned.
The government funds will twin a CP Railway line from two to four tracks and construct several road-rail grade separations to help increase the speed of both freight and passenger service. Work is expected to be completed within about five years.
Relocation of the Via station in Walkerville is part of the plan. A site near the airport and the old CP Rail depot near Wellington Avenue close to the entrance of the Detroit River rail tunnel are among options being discussed, sources said.
“There are a few options out there,” Kaloutsky said. “We’re in a position where we are looking at the possibilities and talking to CP. We are looking for solutions that will allow us to provide downtown service to customers.”
A cargo facility at the airport where air, rail and truck freight can be exchanged will also become a reality under the deal.
Construction and servicing of the property off Lauzon Parkway where the CP tracks cut through the airport’s northeast corner has an estimated cost of $30 million to $40 million, according to city officials.
The feds and the city are negotiating who will pay those costs.
A federal cabinet minister said the railway agreement is “not a question of if, but when.”
“There have been a lot of talks between Transport Canada, the mayor and myself on the (cargo facility) and rail consolidation,” said MP Joe Fontana, the labour and housing minister from London.
“It’s going well. No doubt it’s an incredible opportunity for Windsor. We are going to make it happen. We need to make sure Windsor is operating effectively as it can. Rail is a very important part of that.”
A solution has been agreed upon by the railways, city and feds, but final terms continue to be negotiated, the minister said.
“It’s an opportunity for win-win for everybody,” Fontana said. “Windsor is an important gateway to North America. We need to make sure it functions well. It’s never been a question of money, but a question of doing it right.”

SteelTown Jan 21, 2006 6:08 PM

Great stuff happening in Windsor! Portofino Condominium is quite nice.

I'm kinda worried if we elect a majority conservative government as I see that being a serious risk to VIA's future. It's no secret that the conservatives would like to privatize VIA. This might jeopardize Windsor's future VIA station (and Hamilton's too) from conservative's cutback.

Blitz Jan 21, 2006 6:23 PM

If the Conservatives are elected, the best case scenario for cities like Windsor and Hamilton would be a minority government. In regards to the railway plan, Windsor has been assured it'll go ahead regardless of what party is in power.

SteelTown Jan 21, 2006 6:25 PM

Oh so the funds have been put aside. That’s good news.

y2k_pony Jan 23, 2006 11:23 PM

good to see that we now have a sticky Construction thread, I will ad updated photo's of Construction projects going on when I have some time. I know that the Portofino is already 2 stories high and they are now doing the 3 day continous poor of the Concrete for the Casino tower foundation.

arnold Jan 24, 2006 1:07 AM

hey blitz, thanks for that article.

and let me just say, that if they could manage to put a new station down on the wyandotte and wellington site... that would be nothing short of stupendous. that is... if i'm thinking of the right place. wyandotte, in between downtown and the university, right?
because if it is, that location opens a whole world of opportunity for that completely under-utilized mid-wyandotte stretch. exciting times indeed.

Blitz Jan 24, 2006 3:47 AM

Yeah, that's between downtown and the University. It's a grungy area but maybe something like that would kickstart it.


Originally Posted by y2k_pony
good to see that we now have a sticky Construction thread, I will ad updated photo's of Construction projects going on when I have some time. I know that the Portofino is already 2 stories high and they are now doing the 3 day continous poor of the Concrete for the Casino tower foundation.

arnold Jan 25, 2006 2:29 AM

hey, i have a question for the windsor enthusiasts. since ford has announced the closing of the casting plant... what does that mean that mean for the area surrounding it? i know that the loss of 200 or so jobs is quite a blow, but the residents in that area surely must be glad that their smelliest of neighbours is moving out. probably sending the real estate values soaring on that stretch of the riverfront.
so, will they tear down the plant and just build condos? (after a long and expensive enviro clean-up, of course). or does anyone have any other ideas? a park? a shopping mall? an arena? a far eastern super-anchor? who cares to guess?

Blitz Jan 25, 2006 6:28 AM

Hmmm, haven't heard a thing about possible redevelopment guess would be condos. LOL at the suggestion of an arena. I'd put more money on us seeing Windsor Arena's 100th birthday. Actually, Windsor Arena looks a hell of a lot better now than it did 10 years ago - they've really brightened it up, both inside and out.

Blitz Jan 25, 2006 3:27 PM

Investment in core signals ‘confidence’

By Dave Hall
The Windsor Star
Jan. 25, 2006

Calling it the “largest influx of city centre investment in the past five years,” the chairman of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association said Tuesday six new businesses are in the process of opening in the downtown core.
Mark Boscariol, also a downtown business owner, said that “while all six are service-oriented, it’s a signal to me that people are showing more confidence in our downtown and are willing to invest where perhaps others failed.
“It’s obvious downtown is still viewed as an entertainment district and, until we increase our residential component, that probably won’t change,” said Boscariol.
Among the new businesses are the Whiskey Bar and Grill which has opened in the former Big Tomato space in the Palace complex on Ouellette Avenue, a new cafe which is replacing Maria’s Deli on Chatham Street, a new restaurant on Pelissier Street on the site of the former Ciao/Vivo eatery, a new restaurant is taking over the spot formerly occupied by Montecristo Coffee on Ouellette Avenue and a new eatery in the former Bern Fondue restaurant, also on Chatham Street.
In addition, Erleidcha Bed & Breakfast/cafe is about to open in the former Nisbet Inn, a longtime pub and bed and breakfast business on Elliott Street, which closed recently.
Erleidcha owner Nicole Daignault, a Windsor native who has spent the last few years living in Southeast Asia, said the business will offer “accommodations, healthy foods prepared with local, organic products, workshops and a lending library along with yoga, and sea salt baths.
“It’s going to be a cool place to hang out,” said Daignault, who has spent three months renovating and freshening the old Nisbet. “It’s a B&B-cafe with a holistic twist.”
Meanwhile Mike Piccioni, owner of the Whiskey Bar, admits “It’s a risk opening a business downtown but I’ve always wanted to run my own business and this seemed like a good opportunity.
“I’ve always liked this space because of the large windows and the corner location and I just thought if the right business went in there, it would work,” said Piccioni, an accountant with clients in the U.S.
Whiskey’s is open for lunch and dinner with entertainment offered by a Detroit-based rock-and-roll pianist, who “plays absolutely everything from the 50s through to today,” said Piccioni, on Friday and Saturday nights.
Boscariol said he was also encouraged by the prospect of up to 1,000 students being added to the downtown mix, providing St. Clair College and city officials are able to reach an agreement allowing the college use of the Cleary International Centre for its hospitality services courses.

It’s also rumoured that the college is considering similar approaches relating to the Capitol Theatre and the former Salvation Army building on Victoria Avenue, which would be used as a Centre for Entertainment Technology.
Boscariol, whose businesses include the Flying Monkey Cafe, Chanoso’s, Room with a Cue and Oishii, said he welcomes the added competition because “the diversity of the new openings creates an exciting dining destination in the core which we can begin marketing to outsiders, not just Windsorites.
Citing the existence of restaurants serving Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Greek, Lebanese and Japanese cuisine along with traditional North American fare, Boscariol said “the diversity is well worth celebrating and promoting not only to outlying communities but also across the river.”

y2k_pony Jan 25, 2006 10:39 PM

they are just finishing the Big pour of the Concrete at the Casino.


January 20, 2006
A major continuous concrete pour for Casino Windsor’s expansion site has been cancelled for January 21 and 22 and rescheduled to happen at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, January 24 and running approximately 32-34 hours through to the early evening on Wednesday, January 25. The original plans were cancelled due to poor weather conditions; this new date is also weather dependant.

This continuous pour is the largest planned for the expansion site and will form the foundation for the footings of the new 22-story hotel tower, to be erected parallel to McDougall Street.
Planning a continuous pour is a strategic endeavour:
· CBM (Canada Building Materials Co) will provide 25 trucks with 50 drivers.
· A total of 500 truck loads each carrying 8 meters of concrete will deliver a total of 4,000 cubic meters
· One cement truck will be unloaded every five minutes
· Two Windsor locations will be used to supply the concrete: Santarossa J & Sons located at 5115 Rhodes Drive and CBM’s facility at 3510 Russell St.
· From the Santarossa yard, the drivers will take Jefferson to EC Row west to Howard Ave north, west on Eugenie, north on McDougall to jobsite. They will return south on Howard to EC Row eastbound to Central Ave. then to Rhodes Dr.
· From the CBM yard, the drivers will travel east on Wyandotte Street and north on McDougall to the expansion site. They will return west on University.
· Six trucks will enter the construction zone at a time, with two vehicles each dumping into three separate concrete pumps, which will strategically fill the hole to an overall depth of 2 meters.
· Should the trucks that are ready to unload begin to queue, there will only be six at any one time waiting on McDougall Street.
· The pour will not cause additional street closures; both Pitt and Chatham Streets will remain open. McDougall Street from Pitt to Riverside Drive will also remain open. McDougall Street from Pitt to Chatham has been closed since January 3, 2006.

There will be four additional continuous pours planned through the end of February, each roughly half the size as the first, lasting approximately 12 hours with 250 truck loads.

The $400 million casino expansion and renovation project remains on schedule to be completed at the end of 2007. Key features of the expansion include a 400-room hotel tower, 5,000-seat auditorium/theatre and 100,000 square feet of convention space.

Casino Windsor’s current facility is undergoing extensive renovations with the addition of six bus bays at the Chatham Street entrance; the closure of Showtime Lounge which will be transformed into a high-end sports lounge to open this summer; and the recent opening of the first completed phase of the project, the 650-seat Market Buffet on the lower level.


Blitz Jan 28, 2006 4:11 PM

Streetscaping / Urban Design news:

Mayor Francis is coming through on his promises to beautify major arteries. After developing Windsor's new Urban Design Plan in 2004, things are starting to take shape.....

Huron Church Road (the road connecting Highway 401 to the Ambassador Bridge) is set to undergo a massive streetscaping overhaul. Several renderings can be found here:

In the fall, dozens of trees were planted along medians on Dougall Rd and Howard Ave. More improvements to these medians will begin in spring. Also, the multimillion dollar Ouellette Avenue streetscaping overhaul is scheduled for 2007.

FenderStrat Jan 29, 2006 5:07 AM

Hi everybody. I was a member of this board a few years ago, back around 2002 I beleive. I posted many pictures during that period of time. Anyway I was busy with other things and now I'm back. Hopefully somebody remembers me.

Anyway here are some pictures of the progress of the construction of the casino expansion project:

Blitz Jan 29, 2006 4:43 PM

Nice, the Windsor posse is growing. Yeah, I remember you from way back then - you used to post pics from your balcony at Victoria Park Place.

FenderStrat Jan 30, 2006 12:18 AM


Originally Posted by Blitz
Nice, the Windsor posse is growing. Yeah, I remember you from way back then - you used to post pics from your balcony at Victoria Park Place.

Yeah! That was me! I can't beleive you remember me!! You, Jaybird, and myself were the main ones who wanted to discuss Windsor. Anyway it's good to be back.

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