By Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The St. Marys Town Council meeting of Tuesday, April 14 provided details to the community on the future of 188 Queen Street West, the current location of West End Variety.
Last year, Brahmani Inc., who owns 188 Queen Street West, submitted a pre-consultation request to develop the property. Since that time, the owner has worked with Town staff to draft a site plan for Council’s consideration at the April 14 meeting.
The plan was presented to Council by Grant Brouwer, Director of Building and Development for the Town of St. Marys. Brouwer relayed that the owner is proposing a re-development of the property whereby the current structure would be replaced with a new two-storey building. The proposed building would include one commercial unit (of 573 square feet) and two residential units on the lower floor (of 852 and 796 square feet), while the upper floor would be comprised of four residential units ranging from 767 to 796 square feet. Each residential unit would include two bedrooms, with a washroom facility for each bedroom.
Brouwer’s report noted that the proposal fits the criteria for “attainable and mixed-use housing”, in that the rental units would be “flexible and attractive for youth, workers, immigrants and persons of all abilities”.
With regards to the use of the commercial space, Brouwer noted that a professional office is envisioned. “This could include something like a lawyer or accountant’s office, or even a barber,” said Brouwer. At present, there is no one specific who is slated to occupy this business space.
Coun. Marg Luna, referencing the current pandemic and the indefinite delay on non-essential construction, enquired as to whether there is a time restriction on the site plan. Brouwer replied that there is no end date on the approval of the site plan, meaning that the proposal could be approved and that the project could move forward at an undetermined date in the future.
Following the discussion, Council moved to authorize the Mayor and Clerk to sign a Site Plan Agreement between the Town of St. Marys and Brahmani Inc. for the redevelopment of 188 Queen Street West.
West End Variety, operated by owners Jay Patel and Bob Patel (aka Brahmani Inc.) since October 2008, is planned to close at the end of April. Brahmani Inc. also owns the St. Marys Post Office building.
The next step in the development of 188 Queen Street West is issuance of a demolition permit, however that is on hold because of the Provincial ban on non-essential construction.