A long vacant property in downtown Owen Sound is a step closer to being put back into use.
City council gave conditional approval at its meeting yesterday to a site plan submitted by Grey Bruce Property Rentals Inc. for the former Strathcona School on 4th Avenue East to be re-developed into a 68-unit apartment complex.
Coun. Travis Dodd moved the motion for approval. He says developing the former Strathcona School site, which has sat vacant since 2008, has been a desire for nearby residents for a long time.
"This has been quite an eye sore for some of the neighbouring residents and they've always wanted some development there," Dodd says. "Just to kind of spruce it up."
Dodd says the addition of new apartment units will also help address Owen Sound's low rental vacancy rate by adding more supply into the market.
According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation's 2018 rental market report, Owen Sound's vacancy rate sits at 2.3 per cent.
"It's really important to help to continue to fuel our downtown economy," Dodd explains. "And these new units are going to be able to help our current rental situation."
Director of Community Services Pam Coulter told councillors the building will be a three-storey structure once complete, with a basement. It will feature 86 parking spaces including two electric vehicle charging stations.
The apartment building will also include 11 barrier free units.
Coulter says the site plan also includes several attractive landscaping features such as tree/shrub planting and the construction of a gazebo.
A spokesperson from Grey Bruce Property Rentals Inc. says construction on the apartments is expected to start late this spring, pending all approvals. Some demolition work has already been taking place.
It's anticipated completion will be sometime in late 2020.