The 137-unit assisted living facility under construction in Sudbury’s Minnow Lake neighbourhood is anticipated to partially open by September and fully open by the end of the year.
Bawa Hospitality Group owner Danny Bawa joined staff, city councillors and prospective residents for a tour of the partially complete building on Wednesday.
“There’s huge demand in Sudbury,” Bawa told Sudbury.com while touring a completed model unit on the main floor, adding that some developers in the Greater Toronto Area are afraid of Sudbury because it’s cold and has a reputation for being a difficult place to find subtrades.
Bawa Hospitality Group had no such difficulty, he said, adding that the vast majority of subtrades on the six-storey building were from the Greater Sudbury area.
The building broke ground in August 2021, its first four floors are anticipated to open to residents by September and the balance of the building is expected to open by the end of the year.
Its construction was aided by the city deferring development charges for six years, which Bawa said gave the project an early boost.
“Now we can open the building, get some revenue going and then pay for some development charges,” he said. “That really helped us get this building going.”
This is the Greater Toronto Area company’s first build in Greater Sudbury, and Bawa said they’ve already begun planning a 100-unit addition and a 150-unit seniors building on Algonquin Road in the city’s South End neighbourhood.
The city’s planning committee received an update on the Algonquin Road project during a meeting earlier this year, and a second public hearing is slated to take place before city council makes a decision.
As for the Minnow Lake building presently under construction, both Ward 8 Coun. Al Sizer and Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc attended Wednesday’s model unit opening on Wednesday.
“With our aging population, we know there are many seniors who are waiting for housing, especially when it comes to assisted living facilities that can help seniors transition from independent living to long-term care should the need arise,” Sizer said, relaying a message on behalf of city council.
“It’s about helping seniors keep their independence and everything they need in one location.”
“We want to create this housing within everyone’s community, not just in Ward 11,” Leduc said. “When you’ve grown up in an area, you want to stay in that area.”
There are 11 types of units in the building, with studio apartments starting at $3,700 per month, one-bedroom units starting at $4,700 and two-bedroom units starting at $5,700.
Included in the rent is three meals per day, weekly housekeeping, a 24/7 snack bar, medication monitoring and various other services. There will be registered nurses and personal support workers on staff to assist residents as needed.
Area resident Angela Bradley, who lives down the street, attended Wednesday’s event, and said the building suits her needs. Her husband died a couple years ago, leaving her with more house than she’s comfortable managing on her own.
“For me, it doesn’t make sense,” she said of her house. “I’m looking after the yard and everything, and I want to have time for myself.”
In addition to her future unit in the building’s fifth storey carrying less work than her existing home, she said she’s looking forward to its various shared spaces.
“It’s going to be a happy place,” she said.
Adults Advisory Panel chair Barbara Nott attended Wednesday’s model unit opening out of curiosity, and credited it as making a positive impact on the lives of older adults who need some help but aren’t ready for long-term care.
Although she said the building is positive for the city, she said the biggest housing need at the moment is affordable housing. WIth units starting at $3,700 per month, she said the Minnow Lake building's units are not affordable for many seniors.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.