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Old June 22nd, 2008, 08:56 PM   #1
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Windsor Developments

This will be the thread for any developments happening in or around the Windsor area. Soon to be stickied?
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 08:59 PM   #2
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New Border Crossing for Windsor-Detroit to be built in Brighton Beach: DRIC

Construction could start in 2009 and finish by 2013

Dave Battagello, The Windsor Star
Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Calling it the country's "No. 1 priority" for transportation infrastructure, Canadian government officials unveiled long-awaited plans Wednesday for a new border crossing in Windsor's west end which they hope will help end the city's border truck traffic problems and improve the flow of the nation's trade.

Following nearly six years of meetings, debate and consultation, the final recommendation of the binational Detroit River International Crossing team is for the new bridge to be located in Brighton Beach in between the power plant and Canada Salt Company.

"For the economies of both Canada and the U.S., this certainly is important to get this up and running," said federal Transportation Minister Lawrence Cannon. "It's extremely significant for the economies of the two countries.


Artist drawing of the proposed DRIC Canadian plaza and crossing.

"Since we've been in power we have put a full court press on this project. It's extremely important and does rank as our number one priority."

Cannon vowed nothing will stand in the way of the federal government completing the bridge project in Windsor -- not finances, legal challenges or constructability.

The length of the crossing from end-to-end is expected to be around 2.5 kilometres. The span over the Detroit River will be about 850 metres. It has not yet been determined whether the new bridge will be a cable-stay or suspension crossing.

Cost for the bridge will be about $800 million, with another $200 million spent on the Canadian plaza which will be 132 acres in size and located in between the Nemak automotive plant and the power plant in Brighton Beach.

The bridge will cross into Detroit in between historic Fort Wayne and the north channel of the Rouge River that borders Zug Island.

Construction is to begin in late 2009 with a target completion date of 2013.

The location for the bridge and plaza were selected because they would have the least impact on residents, less costly to build because of soil conditions and will be located on property that is largely unused, the DRIC officials said.

Residents, business and politicians on this side of the border all applauded the location.

"It's exactly the location for both plaza and bridge the city proposed nearly four years ago," said Mayor Eddie Francis. "It's a location that the community has supported. We are very pleased with the announcement today."

Mary Ann Cuderman, leader for a west-end truck watchdog group and advocate for the Sandwich community, said: "The plaza and crossing location is something we in Sandwich can live with."

Coun. Caroline Postma, who represents the city's west end, was also content with the location.

"It's good to know what we advocated for at the end of this route is going to happen," she said. "It's something we have talked about through the entire process. The people in the west end have been truly engaged."

DRIC last month unveiled its final recommendations for a new border feeder road through South Windsor and LaSalle. The Windsor-Essex Parkway is a nine-kilometre, six-lane below-grade freeway that will include 11 grassy overpasses in the Talbot Road-Huron Church Road corridor.

Costs have been projected as being up to $5 billion for the entire end-to-end Windsor-Detroit border project.

Federal officials indicated Tuesday once construction begins on the new bridge, plaza and border feeder roads in Windsor it will create an economic spinoff benefit of $3 to $4 billion. Up to 25,000 person years of work -- a person year equals one person working full-time for a year -- will be created.

The local chamber of commerce supported the final location for the bridge and plaza, but was most pleased the project's going forward.

"From the chamber's perspective we are more than content," said chairman Peter Hrastovic. "This is the most exciting economic development news we have had in a long time in this community -- in decades.

"This is badly needed. This is an announcement to the world that Windsor-Essex is open for business."

He hoped the DRIC's ongoing battles against Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun and the city over its GreenLink plan that proposes more tunnelling on the route to the border, can be put aside.

"Lets not talk about war or battles, but peace and the solutions we can work out together if everybody puts their mind to it," Hrastovic said. "The potential for everybody doing well here, the prosperity, is seemingly endless if people want to work together."

Federal government authorities have been talking with Moroun, who has threatened to derail the DRIC effort, claiming that it will steal much of his truck traffic revenues.

"I don't want to make statements in terms of discussions with Mr. Moroun's group, but I do want to assure you those discussions are taking place," Cannon said.

He indicated the door is open for the bridge company to be among those considered for private sector investment of the new bridge.

The federal government leaders indicated how they will next seek a public-private partnership (P-3) to help pay for construction of new bridge and plaza in Windsor, but vowed the crossing will remain under public control.

MP Brian Masse (NDP -- Windsor West) was happy DRIC respected the community's wishes when it came to deciding a final location for the bridge and plaza: "It's great news for the community. We've had enough troubles and tragedies related to this process, but this is the best location we could have hoped for if there is no bypass."

But he urged caution regarding Ottawa's push for P-3 for the bridge project, fearing profit-driven motives of the private sector will lead to high tolls for users, including Windsor residents.

"It could doom us to higher fares," he said. "It would be like an increased tax on residents."

Masse instead urged the use of bonds to help pay for the project.




© The Windsor Star 2008

Last edited by Jaybird; June 22nd, 2008 at 09:06 PM.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 09:01 PM   #3
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Caesars rocks!

'Dawning of a new era for Windsor as a great entertainment destination'

Craig Pearson, The Windsor Star
Published: Thursday, June 19, 2008

It was, as one well-heeled guest said, an out-of-Windsor experience.

Windsor hailed more than just Caesar Thursday night with the much-hyped grand opening of the most elaborate entertainment facility this city has ever seen: Caesars Windsor.

The city hailed a 5,000-person swanky soiree, a concert by pop-star Billy Joel, and - most importantly - a beacon of hope for a struggling economy.


Rock star Billy Joel performs at the Colosseum, a 5,000 seat, state-of-the-art entertainment centre at the new Caesars Windsor Thursday, June 19, 2008.
Jason Kryk, The Windsor Star

"I know this community has dealt with some hard times and fierce competition from across the river," Harrah's Entertainment president Gary Loveman said on stage in the Augustus Ballroom, where dignitaries gathered for big hoopla and big praise. "But that is about to change.

"Today marks the dawning of a new era for Windsor as a great entertainment destination. You are about to experience the largest, most magnificent casino-resort not just in the Detroit-Windsor market, but in all of Canada. And it bears the name Caesars - the most recognized gaming brand in the world."

It took three years, $439 million, 5,000 guests - and a partnership between the government of Ontario and Harrah's entertainment - but it was a party and then some, with a few togas.

Politicians and Caesars officials were led on stage by Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, and two centurians. And the officials seemed just as confident as their Roman predecessors.

"There's a new sense of pride, a new sense of excitement, a buzz in the air of the city," a beaming Mayor Eddie Francis told assembled guests. "You can hear it from the residents to the workers here at Caesars Windsor.

"And it's all made possible because of the partners on this stage - the OLG (the provincial Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.), to the province of Ontario, to Harrah's, to Caesars Windsor. Thank you for believing in Windsor!"

A number of people in the fancy crowd seemed more interested in socializing than speeches, though you can hardly blame them - given the luxury they enjoyed in the stylish Augustus Ballroom - highlighted in red hues, with volcanic bouquets, and scarlet curtains, and with munchies like warm asparagus shooters and chocolate bisque fois gras.

But few could fault anybody's exuberance over the the wowza opening of what so many hope will turn a struggling city around - and help start something for the province.

"You're looking at close to a billion dollars invested in Windsor's future," said MPP and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan (L - Windsor-Tecumseh). "So do the finance minister a favour. Go down and play the slot machines after the concert, because we need all of you."

With a 26,000-square-foot ballroom (the largest in the area) and a 5,000-seat Colosseum, the biggest of any local convention space - bigger, in fact, than at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas - the place boasts a number of local superlatives: biggest, tallest, most expensive.

But will the upscale Caesars attract the coveted American clientele that has dwindled so dramatically in recent years?

"We used to come a lot more," said Rochelle Greenberg, a business owner from Farmington Hills, Mich., who stayed in a "comped" hotel room with her husband Gary and who attended the Billy Joel concert. "This is a good draw, but the problem for us is still the border, going back and forth. But I think more people will come over. It's just beautfiul here."

The whole shebang befits a Roman king, starting with the new 27-storey, 369-room Augustus Tower, whose lobby has a 10-foot centerpiece sculpture of the Three Graces, daughters of Zeus, amid the mosaic-tiled fountain churning 3,000 gallons of water. There's also a remarkable hand-painted triptych of the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

Near the top, on the 25th floor, is the spectacular Goddess Room - the place you'd expect to find Donald Trump. Or a high-roller.

For between $3,500 and $5,000 a night, you enter through a vestibule into complete luxury, including a dining room and butler's pantry, a "recreation table" that looks remarkably like a poker table, a stylishly appointed living room, and a lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous bathroom suite awash in greys, reds and golds, with a circular lighting recess overhead, a plasma-screen TV, makeup room, granite counters, and a chichi shower-tub area with something you simply cannot get dressed without: an in-mirror TV.

Oh, and the sky-high views of Detroit and surrounding area are simply the best in existence.

A few finishing touches still need taking care of - a piece of siding here, a room mirror there, but the new facility overflows with so much opulence it hardly seems like Windsor.

And there's still the top-floor mystery space yet to come, though let's face it - with that view and 30-foot ceilings and the hip Detroit-facing lip with the hole on top - it will ultimately become some sort of party room.

But you don't need that lofty area to party like a Roman.

You only need 5,000 people and the new Caesars Windsor. And maybe a little gambling money.

© The Windsor Star 2008
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Old June 29th, 2008, 07:32 AM   #4
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Completed. June 23 2008
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Old July 11th, 2008, 04:04 PM   #5
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Historic inn might be leveled to make a parking lot

Windsor Heritage Committee might thwart demolition

Rebecca Turcotte, The Windsor Star
Published: Thursday, July 10, 2008
Kim D'Amore spent countless hours stripping oil paint from the wooden cabinets of her 1915 home to restore their original beauty.

In fact, it took nine years of sweat to renovate her former property into the quaint Nisbet Inn at 131 Elliott St. W.

Now, the arts and crafts style house D'Amore so lovingly restored into a bed and breakfast is at risk of being demolished -- paved over to create parking spots.


The owner of the former Nisbet Inn at 131 Elliott St. W. wants to demolish the building and turn it into a parking lot.
Dan Janisse, The Windsor Star

"I poured my heart and soul into that house. Now it is all about making money," she said. "In some ways I understand because I'm in business myself, but it doesn't make me happy."

After owning the property for more than 20 years, D'Amore sold the property to an investment company in 2005.

"Ideally, someone would have come by that would care about the house and make it successful," she said. "They bought the property for the location. They had no interest in the house at all."

At a city heritage committee meeting Wednesday, representatives from Today Management proposed demolishing the building to turn the site into a parking lot to service their nearby office.

While no formal application to demolish the site has been made, the committee's chair said the company was at the meeting to test the waters.

"We made it clear that if they do go ahead with plans to demolish it, we will do our best to stop it and thwart losing another heritage building," said Greg Heil, the chair.

The property is one of about 600 on the city's protected heritage list, recognized for their historical value. Though they are not formally designated as heritage buildings, under the Ontario Heritage Act the owner must give city council 60 days written notice before demolishing the building.

That 60-day window would be ample time to have the property formally designated, said Heil.

"If they do seek a demolition permit, we will likely vote to have the property designated and send that recommendation to city council," said Heil.

If passed by council, the home and it's distinct architectural properties would be protected.

Heil said usually a property-owner is behind a push for historical designation, though there have been "hostile" designations before.

Last year the committee succeeded in designating the Holy Rosary Convent, at 3975 Riverside Dr. E., as a heritage building. The site was to be sold to a developer who planned to build a nine-storey seniors building.

Most recently, the committee members mourned the demolition of two older buildings along Walker Road -- the former Bank of Montreal building at Ottawa Street and Walker, which was not on the protected heritage list, and the former Seagrave fire truck factory. That old building was demolished even though it was on the protected heritage list, because city hall inadvertently issued a demolition permit.

Heil said the heritage committee believes it's very important to "stop the ill-advised removal of these properties.

"They are a reflection of our past."

D'Amore said the home's original 1915 lead-work windows, elaborate woodwork and high ceilings is what makes the house charming.

Representatives from Today Management did not respond to an interview request when contacted Thursday.

© The Windsor Star 2008
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Old July 16th, 2008, 04:49 PM   #6
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Caesars boosts downtown business

Grace Macaluso, The Windsor Star

Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's been less than a month since Caesars Windsor's grand opening, but restaurants and retailers in the downtown core are starting to notice an upswing in business.

"I've been hearing there is an increase," Larry Horwitz, president of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association, said Tuesday. "It's nice to have the little bit of a boost."

Holly Ward, casino spokeswoman, said attendance and revenue figures are released quarterly and the latest statistics wouldn't be available until October. However, she said "business is doing well. We're really pleased with what we're seeing. Volume is good especially on concert nights."


Business is up in the downtown since Caesars Windsor opened.
Dan Janisse, The Windsor Star


Gaming operations are drawing patrons attending acts at the 5,000-seat Colosseum, she said. "There is a trickle-over effect," she said, noting that tonight's appearance by stand-up comic Chris Rock as well as concerts the following two nights by country singer Reba McEntire, are all sold out.

At CAW Local 444, which represents about 3,000 casino employees, third vice-president Pam Leach said the $439-million expansion has required 400 additional employees, which is good news for a workforce that had more than 5,000 workers prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. Leach also said the upswing at the casino is noticeable on concert nights.

"Due to the entertainment side, we've been getting the overflow, said Leach.

"When there are concerts business picks up at the tables, slot machines; our restaurants are incredibly busy."

The union has been working with management to settle staffing issues in areas that are "still understaffed," she added. "They're still going through the hiring process. We want to make sure there are sufficient numbers of people on each shift."

Leach said the busiest periods usually fall on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings as well as concert nights. "The casino is one of the few bright spots in the city these days," she said.

Horwitz said the full impact of the expanded facility won't be felt until the arrival of large conventions. "That's our long-term hope," he said.

The addition of 100,000 square feet of meeting space to the casino has vaulted Windsor's convention facilities into second place in the province.

It places behind only Toronto when it comes to available floor space for conventions.

Shelley Sechopoulos, director of hotel and convention sales for Caesars Windsor, has said "dozens" of conventions, meetings and other events have already been booked over the next two years.

Horwitz said the city and downtown businesses must do their part of make the rest of the core as inviting as the casino complex. Street-scaping, the advent of free Wi-Fi Internet service downtown as well as storefront improvements are key ingredients to drawing and retaining businesses and patrons, said Horwitz.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 04:54 PM   #7
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If only the Spitfires' new arena was built downtown instead of Tecumseh, then downtown would given an even bigger shot in the arm.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 05:54 PM   #8
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Amica on the Drive just east of Pillette Rd is above ground.

"7 Supervisor of Development Application Teams Application of Amica Mature Lifestyles Inc. for site plan approval to permit a Lodging House – Adult Retirement and Accessory Facility (12 story building with accessory facilities within the building; 82 underground parking spaces and 11 visitor spaces, 5 staff parking spaces as surface parking area) located at 4881 and 4909 Riverside Drive East File ZS/9844"

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East Windsor Cogeneration Centre (84 MW) - Windsor
http://www.powerauthority.on.ca/Page...ContentID=5116
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Old July 19th, 2008, 07:46 PM   #9
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I wonder how the new Spitfires' arena is looking... or should I say the WFCU Centre...

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Old July 31st, 2008, 07:30 PM   #10
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Canal plan floated for downtown


Dave Battagello, The Windsor Star
Published: Monday, July 28, 2008

Mayor Eddie Francis will today unveil an ambitious water and boardwalk concept for the Western Super Anchor properties he believes can finally help transform the downtown dead zone.

A large cut into the shoreline that would bring the Detroit River inland near Caron Avenue and create a waterway to house a new marina is a major component of the proposal developed by Toronto urban designer Calvin Brook. The 40-foot-deep basin would be shadowed by a combined condo and retail development.

Also included in Brook's concept is conversion of a three-block stretch of either Pitt Street or Chatham Street into a new east-west 20-foot-deep canal filled with municipal -- not Detroit River -- water that eventually travels north back toward the riverfront on property just west of the art gallery.

"Now that the casino (expansion) is open people have been saying 'What can we do to spur people and attract them to the city?'" Francis said.

"This provides a sense of community, identity and mixed use we have desired for the Western Super Anchor. It all translates into economic benefits. The time for this is right.

"This project is not going to be up and running tomorrow, but it's a plan for the future. We get asked to make a decision and that's what we are doing."

While the idea of cutting the river inland in the area near Caron has been a concept thrown around since the mid-1980s, the idea of adding a downtown canal is new, driven by what's been done in cities such as San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

The mayor credits city solicitor George Wilkki for suggesting it might work for Windsor, during a recent city strategic planning session. Brook has turned the idea into a reality in his renderings.

After today's unveiling, the next step calls for a three-month feasibility study to determine what's technically doable and what it would cost.

The mayor then hopes to stage several community open houses to gather feedback and gauge support for the plan.

There are no firm construction cost estimates for the plan, only early projections which suggest $60 million will be needed for the new waterway infrastructure -- roughly $30 million for the marina basin, $18 million for the canal and $12 million for site servicing.

But the mayor warned nothing is truly known financially until the feasibility study is completed.

The city is only to fund and help develop the water and walkway infrastructure under the plan. If the city builds the infrastructure, Francis hopes the private sector will come -- transforming a downtown western core into a destination of shops, residences, museums and restaurants.

"Our focus is on the infrastructure which will be a catalyst for the development," he said.

Windsor Family Credit Union, through president Marty Komsa, has offered to help pay some of the anticipated $65,000 cost to do the feasibility study and the mayor is seeking other private support. He hopes to get the study underway by late August.

Brook was instrumental in developing the central riverfront implementation plan for Windsor in the mid-1990s and was part of the former Killer Bs' downtown arena proposal. He received $10,000 for his latest rendering for the city.

He has developed a waterfront plan for Toronto and recently co-authored a study proposing the transformation of that city's elevated Gardiner Expressway with a network of public spaces, buildings and landscapes as an alternative to demolition.

He was in Scotland on Monday and could not be reached for comment.

Former MPP and NDP cabinet minister Dave Cooke, who returned from Toronto in April to again reside in Windsor, has been recruited by the mayor to help push the concept toward reality.

Cooke became intrigued because he believes the proposal offers more bang for the Western Super Anchor site originally than previous plans. The land, behind the art gallery, was originally consolidated by the city for an arena that's now being built in the east end and most recently was touted for a University of Windsor engineering campus, which the university decided to instead locate on campus.

"I just think this is so different than building an arena or engineering building that attempted to be the 'one thing,'" said Cooke, chairman of the University of Windsor's board of governors. "This is a concept that attracts not only people visiting the city, but for people living here to come back downtown.

"This is how we can integrate the waterfront into downtown. Today you get one block way and you don't know the water is there. This has amazing potential. This will get people going back and forth. This will bring the waterfront into the city."

He believes the concept offers Windsor a chance to change its reputation.

"You want people living, working and playing in a downtown mixed-use area," Cooke said. "There are challenges. This will not happen overnight. But this is a link on what we can do to attract investment. This will create jobs."

City planner Thom Hunt described the proposal as an exciting project that offers an opportunity to connect people with the waterfront in the downtown core.

"The central riverfront plan called for a linkage from downtown to the waterfront and this plan puts into images how to accomplish that," Hunt said. "The opportunities are dynamic.

"People are attracted to water. They want to sit near it, look at it. This actually brings those elements downtown. It's exciting and you want to get to a point where we can start to build it. The location, proximity to downtown and proximity to water features will be a good market."

There are also early ongoing port authority talks about launching a new Windsor-Detroit ferry taxi service which also could be tied to the proposal, the mayor said.

"The city is not getting involved with any of the developments," he said. "The city will be doing what we should be -- investing in infrastructure. By doing this, we give the city a chance to do bigger and better things.

"It's not pie-in-the-sky because people understand the significance of the riverfront. We will put it out there and see what the community reaction will be."


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Old August 16th, 2008, 12:45 PM   #11
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Hey,

My bf, a female friend and myself all decided we'd like to do a small trip tonight (Saturday). I haven't been to Windsor since 2004, and back then the city's party scene was absolutely wild, which is why I've suggested Windsor as our destination (Plus I'd like to check out the casino ). Is it still like that, or has the high dollar noticeably reduced the nightlife?

What are the best clubs to go to? Is everything good on Ouellette, or are there any hot places just off that main strip? We're in our mid-20's, so we'd prefer places where it's not dominated solely by 19-year olds. I seem to remember a club in an old factory on the NW side of the downtown - does that ring a bell for anyone, and is it an alright place?

Restaurant suggestions? $15-20 would be the preferred price range. Also, the place must have a good vegetarian meal for the bf.

Also, is anyone having a pre-club house party tonight where you'd welcome 3 more guests?



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Old August 20th, 2008, 03:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WaterlooInvestor View Post
Hey,

My bf, a female friend and myself all decided we'd like to do a small trip tonight (Saturday). I haven't been to Windsor since 2004, and back then the city's party scene was absolutely wild, which is why I've suggested Windsor as our destination (Plus I'd like to check out the casino ). Is it still like that, or has the high dollar noticeably reduced the nightlife?

What are the best clubs to go to? Is everything good on Ouellette, or are there any hot places just off that main strip? We're in our mid-20's, so we'd prefer places where it's not dominated solely by 19-year olds. I seem to remember a club in an old factory on the NW side of the downtown - does that ring a bell for anyone, and is it an alright place?

Restaurant suggestions? $15-20 would be the preferred price range. Also, the place must have a good vegetarian meal for the bf.

Also, is anyone having a pre-club house party tonight where you'd welcome 3 more guests?



WI
Yeah, Windsor still gets a lot of American youngsters who take advantage of the 19+ drinking age. As for clubs and restaurants, I would ask either Blitz, jodelli, or the recently banned Oaronuviss (though you can send him an e-mail at [email protected]). Oaronuviss will probably know more about Windsor's clubs, nightlife, and restaurants. Every time I'm in Windsor, I mainly do my dining and fun times across the river in Detroit.
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Old August 20th, 2008, 05:37 AM   #13
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http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/ne...2-465594d4c2fd

TD bank's facade may rise again

Proposed for $10M bank project
Gary Rennie, Windsor Star
Published: Saturday, August 16, 2008

After almost a decade in storage, the marble facade of the historic Toronto Dominion Bank building could be used to showcase a proposed $10-million-plus development on Ouellette Avenue at Pitt Street.

Believing a new bank could be locating there, the city's heritage advisory committee has asked local developer Dave Petretta to pitch the reuse of the facade to clients for his proposed commercial building.

The facade was part of the TD Bank branch that anchored the Riverside Drive and Ouellette corner of the Norwich Block until its demolition by the city to make way for the Candarel Stoneridge Equity Group development.

Petretta wants to demolish the former Manning Hotel at the southeast corner of Ouellette and Pitt, which has been mostly vacant since the Royal Bank moved to a new building.

In an interview Friday, Petretta said he's agreed to ask potential clients if the TD Bank facade can be incorporated into designs for the new building.

Petretta wouldn't confirm that one of those clients is a bank.

He said he's still looking for tenants and arranging financing and can't release names at this point.

Earlier this week, the heritage committee decided not to recommend historical designation for the former hotel.

The building is currently in the city's inventory of some 700 buildings of historic value.

Little remains of the original century-old hotel except for a small part of the façade facing Ouellette Avenue, said Greg Heil, chair of the heritage committee. The interior has also been extensively modified over the years to accommodate other uses, he added. At this point in time, it's really been divided into three buildings, he said.

Heil said the heritage committee saw Petretta's development as a rare opportunity to put the TD bank façade back on a downtown street not far from its original location.

"It's an elegant old facade," said Heil, an architect.

The TD's marble Beaux-Arts bank building was designed by New York architects Carrere and Hastings and considered one of the city's landmarks.

The city spent almost $500,000 to demolish the Norwich Block in 1999 and about half that cost was needed to remove the bank's marble exterior and properly store it.

At the time, the city called for bids to reuse the facade, but got only one proposal from a commercial development on Walker Road that was rejected. Cost of bringing the facade out of storage and erecting it was estimated then at $600,000.

A few other ideas for reuse of the facade have been pitched over the years -- including making it part of the new Windsor Art Gallery building or the proposed Joseph Chimczuk museum, if the latter ever gets built.

Because the Manning Hotel building is listed in its inventory, city council will still have to approve a demolition permit, Heil said.

Petretta said he hopes to start demolition Oct. 1. The demolition, if approved, wouldn't affect the Shanfields-Meyers Jewellery and China Shop and adjacent Canada Gift Shop, which share the Ouellette Avenue block.

© The Windsor Star 2008

Here's a photo of that corner I took earlier this summer. The site's to the right:
image hosted on flickr
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Old September 1st, 2008, 03:49 AM   #14
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I grew up in Windsor .. I've been living in Brisbane Australia for 8 years. I went back to Windsor for the first time a year and a half ago and I was shocked at the state of the downtown. I coudlnt believe how dead it was.

Windsor used to be more then just bars and massage parlors .. I have heard they have plans in place to revamp the mall .. I hope they do it soon.

Its just sad to see it the way it is now.
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Old September 3rd, 2008, 06:19 PM   #15
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Feds spur Ford plant rebirth

$80 million pledge for Essex Engine to be announced by PM today

Chris Vander Doelen, The Windsor Star

Published: Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to pledge $80 million worth of financial support toward a $600 million Ford investment to reopen its mothballed Essex Engine Plant during a pre-election visit to Windsor on Wednesday.

The project -- a new engine line to build a small, fuel-efficient engine, possibly diesel -- would resurrect a major pillar of the region's struggling domestic automotive industry, which is reeling from falling sales, layoffs and plant closures.

Harper will be accompanied by Industry Minister Jim Prentice, who has been leading negotiations for the federal aid package since the spring, and local Conservative MP Jeff Watson, who represents the nearby riding of Essex.


The Ford Essex Engine plant, pictured in this 2006 file photo, closed a year ago, throwing 900 people out of work and deepening the economic pall over Windsor and Essex County.
File photo, The Windsor Star

The plant closed a year ago, throwing 900 people out of work and deepening the economic pall over Windsor and Essex County.

In April, Ford said it was investing $170 million in the Windsor factory and would recall 300 people by 2009 to produce parts for export to an engine plant in the U.S. At the time, the company said it had a second phase of the project -- a new engine line worth $600 million -- ready to go if the federal government was willing to help.

Sources say the federal government has been holding high level discussions with senior Ford Motor Company executives in Dearborn, Mich., ever since. But talks were held up by Ford, which wanted to make sure its Way Forward restructuring plan was on track and it had the money to proceed.

"This is the biggest news for our region in a long time," Watson said Tuesday evening. "I'm thrilled, frankly. This is symbolic. It signals a turning point for our economy."

The funding is also political vindication for Watson, a former Chrysler line worker and CAW member whose resignation was called for last month by a blue-chip list of Windsor's CAW top brass. The group, including incoming CAW president Ken Lewenza, led a protest of 300 union members to Watson's office.

Wednesday's funding announcement is clearly linked to the election call that is expected to be issued by Prime Minister Harper within the next week for a possible polling day of Oct. 14.

Watson would not confirm the size of the federal aid package, which came from other sources. "But I know it's significant investment and that revolves around green technologies."

The federal aid, in the form of tax credits, is expected to help pay for retooling the huge plant to assemble a small, fuel-efficient diesel engine designed to power the next-generation of mid-sized Ford cars and small trucks.

According to sources with knowledge of Ford's plans, the company intends to start offering four-cylinder diesel engines as an option in its passenger cars and in a new family of small pickup trucks.

The Conservatives did not want to be part of a re-opening announcement that might change or fizzle out due to changing market conditions.

Ford will receive funding under a newly-created federal industrial fund called the Auto Innovation Fund. Money from the fund will only be dispersed to environmentally sustainable technologies -- part of the Conservative government's counterattack against the Liberal party's Kyoto pledges and Green Shift tax scheme.

The CAW, which has been intensely critical of the federal government's industrial and international trade policies, has not been part of the discussions with Ford. Told of the talks by The Star recently, Local 200 President Mike Vince dismissed talk of federal aid as "too little, too late."

About 90 people were called back to the plant in April to prepare the plant to produce cranks and connecting rods for a low-volume V-8 engine program in Romeo, Mich. after the provincial government announced it would contribute $17 million to the $170-million program.

Ford is on a mission to replace its largest engines -- many of them V-8 and V-10s assembled in Windsor over the past few decades -- with smaller, more fuel efficient and turbo-charged engines.

[email protected] or 519-255-5777, ext. 645



A look back in history

It was almost exactly 30 years ago this fall that another prime minister used the site of Ford's Essex Engine Plant in Windsor as the stage for a political statement.

It was Oct. 6, 1978, and Pierre Trudeau's governing Liberal party had been in power continuously since 1963. The government was tired, and they were deeply unpopular. Interest rates and inflation were extremely high, and so was unemployment.

Trudeau posed in an empty field for the cameras during a ground-breaking ceremony for the Essex Engine Plant as the Liberals laid the groundwork for an election they would not call until the following April. (They lost).

The Liberals claimed the training grants it pledged to help Windsor land the new plant investment, diverting it from Ohio or Michigan. The federal and provincial governments contributed $68 million toward the plant's $533 million cost, for training and infrastructure support for the project.

Last edited by Jaybird; September 3rd, 2008 at 06:26 PM.
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Old September 4th, 2008, 12:56 AM   #16
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^ I also heard a new automotive research centre for Environmentally Friendly technologies is going to be part of the new $80 million federally-funded grant to the Essex Engine Plant. It is to be built by 2012.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 10:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bne View Post
I grew up in Windsor .. I've been living in Brisbane Australia for 8 years. I went back to Windsor for the first time a year and a half ago and I was shocked at the state of the downtown. I coudlnt believe how dead it was.

Windsor used to be more then just bars and massage parlors .. I have heard they have plans in place to revamp the mall .. I hope they do it soon.

Its just sad to see it the way it is now.
That's probably only in the day though.
At night Windsor's downtown is one of the busiest in the entire nation!
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Old September 8th, 2008, 03:01 AM   #18
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Sure downtown Windsor is not the best-looking, but it's in much better shape than it was, say in the 1980s and early 1990s, when the city was declining. Windsor is more than just bars and massage parlors as well.
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Old September 8th, 2008, 09:46 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oaronuviss View Post
That's probably only in the day though.
At night Windsor's downtown is one of the busiest in the entire nation!
Busy as in line ups at the bars .. I seriously doubt it .. I love Windsor .. its my hometown .. but I think your wearing rose coloured glasses if you think its one of the busiest in the nation.


Quote:
Jaybird: Sure downtown Windsor is not the best-looking, but it's in much better shape than it was, say in the 1980s and early 1990s, when the city was declining. Windsor is more than just bars and massage parlors as well.
Downtown Windsor .. aspecially Ouellette Ave. is in desperate need of revitalization. They have clearly spent more money on walker road by the cinemas then they have spent on the downtown. Right now downtown Windsor has a 40% vacancy rate for its Ouellette ave. shops .. thats just pathetic.

They really need to get moving on those plans I have heard about where they are going to close off two blocks of Ouellette ave. to make a pedestrian mall.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 01:20 AM   #20
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Busy as in line ups at the bars .. I seriously doubt it .. I love Windsor .. its my hometown .. but I think your wearing rose coloured glasses if you think its one of the busiest in the nation.




Downtown Windsor .. aspecially Ouellette Ave. is in desperate need of revitalization. They have clearly spent more money on walker road by the cinemas then they have spent on the downtown. Right now downtown Windsor has a 40% vacancy rate for its Ouellette ave. shops .. thats just pathetic.

They really need to get moving on those plans I have heard about where they are going to close off two blocks of Ouellette ave. to make a pedestrian mall.

Of course downtown is in desperate need of revitalization. That's how it's been for ages! BUT, our downtown is still very vibrant at night, especially on the weekends. Even by the river when there's festivals, things going on at the casino, etc... we have a beautiful waterfront that many cities do not have, a load of bars (for the nightlife lover) which in turn DOES make Windsor one of the hippest nightlifes in CANADA. Second only to Toronto (In Ontario).
I've been to George Street in St. John's and as wild and packed as it is, it does not compare to Ouellette street here on a Saturday.

Downtown needs way more shops, and other things to do other than bars, but for the nightlife lover, Windsor is titties.
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