The developer behind plans to redevelop the former Northern Breweries building on Lorne Street took another step forward this week when he received rezoning approval from the city's planning committee.
For the past two years, Sudbury native Greg Oldenburg has been working on a major project to renovate the building to put in 50 condominiums, along with commercial space on the main floor. The Brewer Lofts, as the building will be known, also includes many exterior renovations.
Oldenburg was at planning committee Nov. 21 to have the industrial property rezoned to permit the conversion of the building, the construction of a five-story addition and a mix of commercial and light-industrial uses.
While he received the rezoning, there are steps Oldenburg must take before it becomes official. He has to acquire a section of land on Alder Street where he wants to build a park. And he has to complete a traffic demand study because he's asking for a reduction in parking space requirements, and file a noise and vibration study.
Because the building is location next to railway tracks, noise is a concern for future tenants.
“Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) has noted concerns with siting the proposed development in close proximity to their rail yard located to the immediate east of the subject lands,” a staff report on the proposal says. “CPR advises that the rail-yard is active 24 hours a day and that CPR is entitled to increase or alter their operations at any point in time.
“CPR has therefore recommended that certain warning clauses be inserted in any future offers to purchase and/or agreements of sale and purchase or lease and in the title deed or lease of each residential dwelling unit.”
Oldenburg is planning to include a noise barrier that, along with central air conditioning, will address sounds coming from the tracks.
The building has largely been unused since Northern Breweries closed in 2004, despite efforts in 2005-2006 to save the business. The exterior has deteriorated considerably since then, and while it was sold in 2010, the buyer was unable to find a way to make it viable.
Out of the 50 units, Oldenburg said in a previous interview there could be 30 different floorplans. The ceilings are between 12 and 25 feet high, and windows will be installed along many of the brick-covered walls – of which there is an abundance. There will be a keg and a tap in every loft, a nod to the building's brewing history.
City councillors have been enthusiastic since Oldenburg announced his plans, raising hope a decaying industrial building will be reclaimed and turned into an asset for the city.
"Ideas like this gives Sudbury a fresh start," said Ward 6 Coun. Rene Lapierre.
"It's to be commended and it's nice to see that someone that was a resident of Sudbury is coming back and giving back to his community," agreed Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti, whose ward includes Lorne Street.
"It's really been a pleasure to be back in Sudbury and bringing this project forward," Oldenburg, who grew up in Minnow Lake but now lives in Toronto, told the committee.