The downtown Ledo Hotel property is back on the market after a deal with a group of North Bay-based investors fell through.
The property has remained listed at $1,180,000. It includes four other adjacent properties as part of the deal and a total area of half an acre, including offices, rooms and parking lot space.
Property owner George Soule said that he might still proceed with an affordable housing plan in the event funding comes through, but that he hopes it sells.
“If there’s some interest around, we’ll see,” he said. “I want to cover the mortgage.”
Punctuated by a chuckle, he added, “Right now I’m losing money, so hopefully I can lose less.”
It’s not clear why the North Bay-based investors backed out after considering their plan pretty much a done deal, Soule said, adding it remains a viable property in the city’s downtown core. Sudbury.com reached out to the investors but have yet to receive a response.
Last month, the investors announced a plan to invest $5 million into the 70-year-old building to get it ready for a new life as affordable housing. This is what the building was operating as until a small fire displaced residents and a growing collection of squatters in 2020.
“If somebody buys it, all the power to them,” Soule said, later adding, “I don’t know why the city doesn’t buy it.”
On that front, he said that Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc has expressed a keen interest in seeing something done at the property and has been very helpful, Soule said.
“I think there’s a real will on city council and city hall to make this go, and I’m willing to go with it.”
In the wake of the latest deal falling through, developer Greg Oldenburg has reiterated with Sudbury.com a very different take on things at city hall.
Oldenburg is the director of development and marketing for Le Ledo Inc, an organization which proposed a redevelopment of the Ledo Hotel building and surrounding property called Le Ledo.
The project changed since it was initially dreamed of, but ended up settling on a $50-million build with 120 hotel rooms and 50,000 square feet of commercial, event and hospitality space.
Earlier this year, they blamed perceived uncertainty of the day regarding the future of the Junction East project, an OPP racketeering investigation related to the Kingsway Entertainment District as key reasons for backing away from the project.
“It is not commercially reasonable for Le Ledo to continue to the next stage of the project until the entire scope/schedule of Sudbury Library and Art Gallery is confirmed to be moving ahead,” they wrote in a media release at the time.
Since that time, the OPP investigation concluded with no evidence of corruption found and the nearby Junction East project appears to have retained city council’s support despite doubling in cost to $93.2 million.
The Le Ledo proponents applied for municipal funds last year, after which Oldenberg said they strived to meet in-person with key municipal staff and Mayor Brian Bigger at the property to discuss their ideas for the property.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many staff members were still working from home, the in-person meeting was denied by the city in favour of a virtual meeting.
This, Oldenburg said, was not good enough, as “there is a rapport building when people meet together that’s really lost in translation when you’re not together.”
Down the street at 352-362 Elgin Street, a three-storey building with 12 one-bedroom units, seven two-bedroom units, five bachelor suites and one three-bedroom unit is also up for sale, with a listed price of $2,650,000.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.