There will be plenty of studying going on inside the former Expositor building on Dalhousie Street after committee of the whole agreed to a zoning change that will see one of the future student apartment building’s four storeys divided into two floors.
The new building, currently under construction, will contain 65 apartments and 215 bedrooms geared primarily to graduate students.
Adding a fifth storey will not increase the height of the 17.6-metre building, located at Dalhousie and Queen streets. The original third floor had 16-foot ceilings, so developer Vicano Developments Ltd. opted to split that floor in two, adding 10 suites and 62 beds to the total.
“The project is moving along very nicely and we expect to see some students moving in by the end of August,” developer Peter Vicano told committee of the whole on Monday.
The building’s upper floors will not be ready for occupancy until May 2013, but Vicano assured councillors that the heavy construction is done and tenants on the bottom floors will not be inconvenienced while work continues above them.
The ground floor of the building will house commercial space and two barrier-free, accessible apartments. The entire main floor is wheelchair accessible and 15 of the suites go above provincial requirements for accessibility, with trouble buttons and remote control curtains among many added features, Vicano said.
“I just want to thank you for the investment in downtown and the care you took in this building,” said Coun. Larry Kings.
The build fits with the city’s vision for downtown revitalization by reusing a vacant building, encouraging intensification and adding needed residents to the city centre.
The city’s downtown grant program, which Vicano said helped his company confront nearly $2 million in extra costs specific to refurbishing the site, made the project viable.
“Without this downtown grant, you would not be seeing this project come to be,” he told councillors.
Kings hopes other developers take notice of the successful reclamation project.
That’s already happened, Vicano said.
“A few other cities have contacted us to gain insight into how to revitalize a downtown,” he said. “There are people taking note of what’s going on in Brantford.”