Connolly condo development now in receivership

The Connolly condo tower project is now in receivership, throwing into doubt a project that knocked down most of a historic Hamilton church, but left only rubble in its place.
The Connolly condo project is now in receivership. (Kelly Bennett/CBC)

The Connolly condo tower project is now in receivership, throwing into doubt a project that knocked down most of a historic Hamilton church, but left only rubble in its place.

A notice posted on the chain link fence surrounding the site says that the premises are now under possession of the receiver, and any unauthorized entry is prohibited.

The project will now be sold off in a bidding process. The Connolly is about 75 per cent sold — but it isn't yet clear exactly what will happen with those units.

In 2014, Louie Santaguida's company Stanton Renaissance demolished two-thirds of the historic James Street Baptist Church from 1878 with an eye to building the 30-storey Connolly tower.

Nothing was ever built there. Santaguida did not immediately respond to calls or messages asking for comment.

Our goal would be to see a successful proponent come up in short order.- Coun. Jason Farr

Ward 2 Coun. Jason Farr told CBC News that he hasn't spoken to the owners of Stanton Renaissance in "well over a year." He says his office has been fielding calls about the inactivity at the construction site.

"It's fair to say people have been frustrated for the last year or more," he said. "People have been asking questions about what's going on for a while now."

Farr says he's planning to talk to the city's director of planning about the site tomorrow, in efforts to get a better handle on what will happen to the project.

"Our goal would be to see a successful proponent come up in short order," he said. "My mission now is to make sure what was approved is respected."

A history of bankruptcy

Some of Santaguida's other business ventures show a history of bankruptcy. On the Go Mimico, an Etobicoke high-rise project, was still only about 15 per cent complete when it went into receivership.

The company running that project, Terrasan 327 Royal York, is the sister company of Stanton Renaissance.

Louie Santaguida, left, is president of Stanton Renaissance, the Toronto-based development company that bought James Street Baptist Church. (Adam Carter/CBC)

The Mimico project had been mired in financial and legal troubles. In 2012, for example, Metrolinx backed away from a partnership deal. A year later, crews walked off the job, claiming the developer wasn't paying them.

Court documents say Santaguida started defaulting on payments months after being loaned $21 million in construction money last year.

Land belonged to James Street Baptist since 1895

In 2011, two of Terrasan's divisions filed for bankruptcy. Terrasan Environmental Solutions had assets of $27, and owed $9.5 million. Terrasan Metal Fabricators owed $5.5 million and had $12 in assets.

That bankruptcy caused problems for the city of Brantford, where Terrasan was supposed to remediate a 20-hectare industrial site for a housing, commercial and parkland development. 

Salespeople have had displays for The Connolly set up at Supercrawl. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

A land registry document shows the Connolly land belonged to James Street Baptist Church from 1895, and mostly stayed in Baptist hands until it was sold for $610,000 to a numbered company, and transferred to Mary Lou Santaguida, in June 2013.

adam.carter@cbc.ca

About the Author

Adam Carter

Reporter, CBC Hamilton

Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Hamilton home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music in dank bars. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.

With files from Samantha Craggs