Council urged to get condo update

Duane Hicks

A real estate sign advertising a new condo development has been posted on Front Street since April, 2009—and the town needs to find out what Thunder Bay developer Robert Zanette’s plans are for the proposed project, regional economic developer Geoff Gillon told council at Monday night’s regular meeting.
“We continue to talk with the condo developer,” Gillon noted. “We talked with him in August and last spring.
“That project still is, as far as I know, ongoing but moving slowly.
“I guess I’d encourage council to ask some questions of the developer, and see where he’s headed and what his new timeline is.
“It would be nice to see it happen but given the nature of the economy, and housing sales, and the fact it’s his own money that he’s investing, he may be just taking a cautious look at it,” Gillon reasoned.
Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft said, in his opinion, he felt the condo developer has “dropped the ball” on the proposed project.
“I think myself, like most of council, would like to see this project go forward,” especially since it involves private, not public, funds, he added.
Gillon said the RRFDC has created a mailing list of former community residents near retirement age who may be interested in relocating back to the community and living in a new condo, but they won’t proceed further until, if, and when the developer begins “a full court press on the marketing.”
“We’re kind of in limbo, just like council is,” Gillon remarked. “That’s why council should ask him . . . to give you an idea of where he’s at.”
“It seems that when we do prod [Zanette], we get a flurry of activity, e-mails especially,” noted Mayor Roy Avis. “We get a whole list of e-mails back and forth, and then there’s no action.”
The mayor said he’s been talking to some people who put their deposits down for a condo unit and now are withdrawing them.
“It’s getting harder and harder as we go along,” Mayor Avis stressed, adding he agreed that the town should “pick that ball up” and see where the project is going.
As previously reported, the proposed development would be built on a riverfront lot located at Front Street and Mosher Avenue, to the east of the current Riverwalk Condominiums.
A large real estate sign has been there since April ,2009 advertising two- and three-bedroom units at a cost of $189,900-259,900.
An open house was held at the Civic Centre last May.