The luxury condominium redevelopment taking place at the former St. Joseph's Hospital on Paris Street appears stalled, and repeated efforts by Sudbury.com to talk with the people behind the project have been unsuccessful.
The estimated $80-million plan received approval from the city in late 2012, after a complicated approvals process that included several raucous public meetings.
Owned by Panoramic Properties, which has other holdings in the city, the main face of the proposal was architect Michael Allen, who represented Panoramic at city council.
To overcome initial opposition, Allen re-jigged his plans, moving more parking underground and boosting the landscaping around the condos. With the changes, the total amount of property set aside for landscaping increased to 47 per cent of the 4.5-acre property, compared with 24.3 per cent in the original proposal.
Plans for landscaping include a new bike path and walkway, which would link up with existing paths in Bell Park. The northern area of the property near Facer Street would get new trees, a mix of pine, oak, spruce, maple and birch.
A new structure on the south wing of the former hospital will create a 62-foot space between the old building and the new one. That will allow a view of Ramsey Lake that was blocked by the old hospital, without creating new visual obstructions.
Higher end condos in the 190-unit project were expected to sell for as much as $500,000 each.
But the ambitious plans have since stalled, with the softening of the housing market in Sudbury in recent years, and as other builders move ahead with less costly condo plans.
The former hospital now looks abandoned.
Sudbury.com has been trying to get an update on the project since May of this year. Allen has responded by email, most recently Aug. 4, promising to arrange a time for an interview.
But that has yet to happen.
Repeated calls to Panoramic Properties have also led to promises they would respond. This week, a Panoramic official asked for a list of questions on the project, but no answers have been provided. The official did confirm, however, that Panoramic has not put the building up for sale.
City communications officer Shannon Dowling said Panoramic is not in violation of any building regulations, and the city hasn't issued any order regarding fencing or other issues on the site.
Panoramic purchased the building in 2010. While the city made an offer to the Sisters of St. Joseph to buy the 4.5-acre property, the offer was contingent on the sisters paying for the demolition of the hospital site beforehand — estimated to cost millions — something the nuns said they couldn’t afford.
Panoramic’s offer, said to be around $1.34 million, didn’t require demolition.