Wednesday, December 1 2021

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The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 will demolish its 54-year-old structure on Great Northern Road and construct a nine-story apartment building with a new branch on the ground floor on the same site.

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The cost of the construction is estimated between 22 and 25 million dollars with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which is expected to provide the funds necessary for the construction. This money will be reimbursed by Branch 25 and Veterans Housing, made up of Sal-Dan Construction and three to four partners. Veterans Housing will be the property manager of the building. Confirmation of funding is expected in 30 to 60 days, Sal-Dan President Sam Biasucci told The Sault Star after an announcement Friday morning to the Legion. Work on the project will begin shortly after confirmation of CMHC support.

Sal-Dan will construct the building. Branch 25 will own just over two acres of land and structure. Profits after expenses will be split evenly between Branch 25 and veterans housing, Legion President Helen Stewart said.

“This is a unique, fresh and brand new model unique to Sault Ste. Marie, ”said Matt Shoemaker, legal counsel for Branch 25.

Legion members and veterans will be given priority for 107 single rooms, two rooms and two rooms plus den. Thirty-five units will be income-oriented. Rental prices must be announced. The legion’s strength of nearly 600 includes around 250 veterans.

Branch 25 expects to earn between $ 80,000 and $ 100,000 per year from apartment rentals. How this money will be used depends on the executive of the legion. The dollars could be invested in Branch 25 programs such as sports and youth education, Stewart said.

Branch 25 will be based at the Marconi Cultural Event Center for 18-24 months during construction. The interim occupancy date for the new site at 96 Great Northern Rd. Is spring 2023.

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“It will just be a nice place for veterans to come and feel comfortable and welcome,” said Stewart.

Branch 25 will have just over 10,000 square feet on the ground floor of the new building. A hall and a bar will accommodate 200 people. An entrance hall and physical facilities, including mechanical and communication rooms, will also be on this level. There will be underground parking for more than 50 vehicles. Additional outdoor parking will be available, as now, at the rear of the property.

Biasucci wants to train several veterans in the skilled trades, including painting, finishing drywall and electrician, during construction.

“Once you’ve learned a skill, it can be of use to you for a long time,” he said.

The president of the Algoma Veterans Association hopes the new Legion space will provide more space for services, such as reiki, chiropractic and massage therapy for former members of the Canadian military.

“We try to bring in as many professionals as possible,” said Frank Iezzi. “The way to help the veterans is to try to bring the professionals here who will help them get through the day. We have veterans who do not want to leave their homes or their apartments. In their own environment, with other veterans in the building, it will be 100% perfect for them.

A memorial tower, similar to the one that stands on Queen Street East next to the GFL Memorial Gardens, will be on the roof of the building.

“There’s a lot of traffic here,” said Stewart. “A memorial tower will keep him in someone’s sight.”

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Biasucci has wanted to join Branche 25 for around 30 years. His most recent effort has been going on for over two years.

CMHC assisted Branch 25 with approximately $ 160,000 in seed capital for the project.

A monument to the Wawanosh Girls’ House will remain near the intersection of Great Northern Road and Willoughby Street. An inscription on the front of the monument will be copied at the back where a bench will be placed and a pergola erected.

Branch 25 has tried to sell its building on Great Northern Road “intermittently” since the 1990s, Stewart said. The Legion can meet the expense, but not the price to pay to replace expensive infrastructure, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning units.

“There’s no money for that,” said Stewart.

A unit of the Great War Veterans’ Association was organized at 517 Queen Street East in 1918. The GWVA was absorbed into the Canadian Legion in 1928.

A similar redevelopment is planned less than a mile north of branch 25. A seven-story apartment building and place of worship will replace the Holy Trinity Anglican Church and four townhouses on Northern Avenue. City council approved a rezoning request for the project in January.

[email protected]

On Twitter: @Saultreporter

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