CBC News has learned the location of a long-awaited long-term care facility – and it is not in Windsor.
Instead, the facility will be built in neighbouring LaSalle.
James Schlegel, president of RBJ Schlegel Holdings, the company responsible for building the project, confirmed the location to CBC News on Tuesday evening.
The company will construct a new, 256-bed structure near the Vollmer Recreation Complex on Laurier Parkway. Schlegel said the site was chosen from a list of 25 potential locations.
The company expects construction to begin on the $35-million project in January and be completed by Oct. 2013.
The decision to locate the project in LaSalle sounded the final death knell for the old Grace Hospital site at the corner of University and Crawford avenues in Windsor’s west end.
Developer Lou Vozza was supposed to have renovated the vacant hospital to accommodate the planned Grace Village.
However, in June the province stripped Vozza of his contract after he failed to meet several deadlines and appeared nowhere near ready to begin construction.
Vozza owns the Grace site, but owes the City of Windsor more than $1 million in back taxes.
Upon learning Vozza had lost the provincial contract, the city placed a lien on the property.
The province awarded Kitchener-based RBJ Schlegel the project and the company quickly ruled out Grace as a viable location.
The province has promised to pay $1.4 million to clean up the old hospital site, which has sat empty since closing its doors to patients seven years ago.
Schlegel said the proximity of the Vollmer Recreation Complex in LaSalle was a deciding factor in choosing the location, adding that residents will be able to participate in different activities offered at the centre.
The Town of LaSalle still needs to approve rezoning of the property, but Schlegel did not anticipate any problems with that process. He said there are plans to expand the facility with an additional $45-million investment in the coming years, depending on the need and the market.
In addition to any construction jobs, Schlegel expects the facility will employ 250 full- and part-time workers.