A prominent feature of Sudbury's skyline has a new owner, and he says the plan is to keep the tower standing and develop it.
Dario Zulich, the owner of TESC Contracting, has purchased the water tower. He bought it from Jeff Perreault who put the tower up for sale in 2015.
Perreault first purchased the tower in 2010 and at that time, had plans to develop it into condominiums or commercial space. However, in 2014, he was diagnosed with ALS and put the tower up for sale a year later.
Perreault's father, Gates, said the his son's ALS diagnosis was devastating for his family.
"It just changed all his dreams," Gates said. "When we found out there was no cure, or any treatment whatsoever, you feel vulnerable."
Gates said his son decided to start a foundation to raise money to do research. The Adaptive Canuck ALS Foundation is raising money for stem cell research. The hope is the research will prevent the progression of the disease, and potentially find a cure.
"Will we get [a cure] in time? We're not sure," Gates said. "But someone, somewhere should be able to develop or benefit from the actions that we're moving forward with."
Preserving an icon
Included in the sale of the water tower is an $80,000 donation to the Adaptive Canuk ALS Foundation. Zulich wouldn't disclose the purchase price, but said it was lower than the 2015 listing of $865,000.
Zulich said when he saw the for sale sign on the tower, he had no problem phoning Jeff to talk about a deal to purchase it.
"I want to preserve this icon," he said. "It's part of our skyline, including the superstack or the Big Nickel or Science North."
As for what will happen to the tower, Zulich said those discussions are on-going. However, he said he will make an attempt to honour Jeff's wishes for future development.
"There's a number of options that Jeff had whether it could be everything from restaurants to meeting rooms, maybe just an observation deck [or] it could be just some kind of commercial use," he said.
"We'll start getting to the drawing board right away. I have a few ideas but there's a lot of people around my table that have ideas. We'll consider them all and come up with a plan very soon."