What started in 2008 as the redevelopment of the old Charles Camsell Hospital now has a finish line in sight, according to the architect and investor who will have put more than a decade of time into converting the property into condos.
Add in the other decade that Inglewood residents have had to put up with as the former hospital sat vacant following it’s closure in 1996, there’s a sense of relief for Gene Dub.
Construction has started, he said, and by the end of next year Phase 1 should be complete for 200 units plus another 89 on the south property. Three hundred more units are planned for Phase 2.
“All of the windows are almost in,” Dub said. Next will be the roof and then the interior. And when the time is right, a new element will be added. Dub has initial plans to build an Indigenous garden.
“It’s one where we plan to celebrate some of the Indigenal history of the area in the park on the park in the corner. So it’s something that wouldn’t have happened had we developed it earlier. So that’s the only plus about it having been delayed.
“We’d like to have involvement of First Nations, Metis and Inuit. Recognition of all of the groups that were in the hospital.”
The original hospital closed in 1965, and two years later this building took its place.
“By the time this building was built, the TB problem was pretty well on the wane and pretty much solved,” Dub said.
“So the Indigenous stories that you hear where there was pain involved where the people were separated from their families, it didn’t happen in this hospital, it happened in the previous hospital.”
Stories also include tales of ghosts, however, Dub said those are all about the first building, not this one.
The goal for these condos is to have a mid-range price point.
“We’re trying to expose the features of an existing structure such as existing concrete and steel beam and they’ll have much of the character of all of the condos that we’ve developed where we have converted existing buildings. They generally appeal to people who are younger rather than seniors. That’s the market we’ll expect will happen.”
Investor problems contributed to the starting and stopping of the project.
“The delay now is pretty much under control. There’s still some financing required but there’s enough financing to continue until such time as the new financing arrives. At this point here we’re speculating. We plan to build whether there’s market demand or not.”
The city has given the plan several extensions, citing disputes between investors for the holdup.