If the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) wants to use the site of the current Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury for future affordable housing, it will cost at least $58,910,947.

On February 22, Surya Pulickal, of Colliers Project leaders, presented a feasibility study to UCPR council on the possibility of redeveloping the site as affordable housing.  

The current Prescott and Russell Residence building on Cartier Boulevard was constructed in 1970. The transition to the new facility being constructed on Spence Avenue is planned for 2024.

Pulickal presented costs and needs associated with three options for the 152,060 square foot building. The options are to adapt the existing building for new dwelling units, demolish the existing building and construct a new housing complex on the site, or sell the property as-is.

The study indicates the overall condition of the existing building is good, but any change of use would require upgrades to meet current codes.

Option One would contain 90 dwelling units in the existing building, but with modifications made. Among those 90 units, there would be five, two-bedroom units, 28 one-bedroom units, 33 bachelor units, and 24 shelter beds which would also be used to accommodate temporary foreign workers in the area. Option Two, with a new building, would contain 115 one-bedroom units and 104 bachelor units, for a total of 219 dwelling units. Option Three is selling the property.

Using a series of criteria and a weighting by Colliers, Option One scored highest with 46 points, followed by Option Two with 44 points and Option Three with zero points.

Option One would cost $58,910,947 and Option Two would cost $85,209,043.

Colliers has presumed 71 per cent of construction costs for either option would be funded using debt.

Colliers estimates Option One would generate $898,343 per year in revenue, and Option 2 would generate $2,215,711 in yearly revenue for the UCPR.

The estimated yearly operating expenses for Option One are $341,191 and $841,527 per year for Option Two.

Mayors respond

“Council has a lot of thinking to do,” Warden Normand Riopel said.

Clarence-Rockland Mayor Mario Zanth asked if the facility could simply be transferred over as-is for use as a shelter or for temporary foreign workers.

Pulickal said he was not aware of any impediments to doing that.

“Option One is really out of the picture, unless you start to sell the units,” Hawkesbury Mayor Robert Lefebvre said, referring to the ratio of expenses versus revenue.

Pulickal said the possibility of selling the units was only considered for Option Two.

“What would be the approximate cash flow we would gain from selling it completely?” asked The Nation Mayor Francis Brière.

Pulickal said the evaluation was done based on the price of the facility’s assets. No consideration had been given of how proceeds from an as-is sale would go towards developing additional housing units.

Lefebvre said he read in the report that the as-is value of the property is $4.9 million.

“I’m concerned after we’ve built the new one (residence), there will still be a waiting list,” commented East Hawkesbury Mayor Robert Kirby.

“Could that be operated as-is by the private sector?” he asked.

“If the present home was operated by the private sector as a nursing home, the purchaser would need to obtain licences from the Ministry of Long-Term Care for additional beds,” responded Chief Administrative Officer Stéphane Parisien.

Council approved receipt of the feasibility study report and to consider the future of the current Prescott and Russell Residence as affordable housing in the 2024 UCPR budget.