The vacant property once home to École Christ-Roi in Hawkesbury has been sold.  The buyer has plans to build a significant senior citizens and retirement living facility on the site.

On May 11, Hawkesbury town council approved the sale of the property at 571 Main Street East to 9414-9812 Québec Inc.  The agreement of purchase and sale is still conditional and there are requirements the buyer has to meet before the land can be transferred.

According to the Registraire des entreprises, Québec’s company registry, the proprietor of 9414-9812 Québec Inc. is Sylvie Raymond of 441 rue Principale in Grenville.  That is a commercial property and the address has at various times been home to a liquidation store and a garden centre.

Hawkesbury municipal Communications Coordinator Yvan Ruel said that the developer is proposing to build up to 251 apartment units for senior citizens on the property, which is located near Cyr-de-Lasalle Park and the Ottawa River waterfront.

Out of the 251 proposed units, 40 per cent of them are to be one-bedroom apartments, 30 per cent are to be two-bedroom apartments, and 30 per cent are to be studio apartments.  The remaining 51 units will be for residents requiring assisted living amenities.  The facility will have nursing staff available for assisted living residents, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Ruel said that the developer has not yet completed a design or exact size of the building and that it is still going through the municipal planning and zoning process.

The new senior living complex is also to include an indoor swimming pool, gym, theatre, indoor and outdoor games areas, a bowling alley, hair salon, café, and drugstore.

According to Ruel, the developer wants to begin construction in the spring of 2021.

The estimated cost of the proposed development on the former École Christ-Roi property is $40 to $50 million.

“It’s a major project,” was how Town of Hawkesbury Chief Administrative Officer Daniel Gatien described the proposed development.

The Town of Hawkesbury acquired the property for one dollar after the school closed and the land was surplus to the needs of the school board.

The town demolished the École Christ-Roi building in 2017. The building was more than 80 years old and was falling into disrepair.  It also contained a significant amount of asbestos, which has been proven to cause mesothelioma lung cancer.  The town also spent approximately $400,000 on decontaminating the soil on the property.

Under the town’s own policy, it sold the Christ-Roi land to the developer for one dollar.  The conditions of the sale are confidential, but Gatien did say that in return, the purchaser had to agree that the property would be developed.

Gatien noted that there had been previous attempts to sell the former École Christ-Roi property, but they had not been successful.