The University of Windsor has purchased the Tunnel Bar-B-Q site as an alternative location for the arts programs originally planned for the bus depot property.
The Tunnel Bar-B-Q site is located directly to the east of the Armouries building, and both properties will become the new home for the University of Windsor’s school for arts and creative innovation.
The bus depot site will be a part of the university’s downtown campus as originally planned, with the intent to eventually repurpose the existing building for other support programming.
“We are pleased to secure an ideal footprint in Windsor’s downtown core with the purchase of the Tunnel Bar-B-Q property," university of president Alan Wildeman said. "The new building on this site will house studio space to complement the programming in the Armouries to the west.
"We were unable to pursue new construction on the bus depot site considering various unique construction challenges caused by its location over the Detroit Windsor Tunnel."
The University purchased the TBQ property for $4 million and the new building will cost an estimated $8.5 million.
Funding for this project will come from the university’s existing bond proceeds and fundraising.
Construction of buildings on the Armouries and the TBQ sites will begin this year and be built in tandem, with an opening set for the fall of 2016.
The university describes the dimensions of the TBQ site as "generous."
The space will house the multimedia and film production studios and creative space for the making fabrication labs for metal work, printmaking and sculptural activities.
“The site will be developed as two distinct buildings, each harbouring the vital architectural components and acoustic treatments specific to the program, and stitched together by a third element as a shared and transparently inviting student lounge space," said Craig Goodman, principal at CS&P Architects Inc.
Mayor Eddie Francis said he is pleased the university will still make use of the bus depot.
“This is another exciting announcement by the University of Windsor and again reinforces their commitment to contribute to the vibrancy of downtown,” Francis said.
Meanwhile, TBQ, which has been opened for 73 years, will continue to operate through this summer.
Tunnel Bar-B-Q's owner Thom Racovitis said he hasn't ruled out staying in the restaurant business at a different location.