Heard on the Street – HMCS Hunter Building For Sale
A large vacant building on Windsor’s main thoroughfare which, until two years ago, was home base for reservists with HMCS Hunter, is now for sale for $2.25 million. A spokesperson for Public Services and Procurement Canada says the building was first offered to other government departments, but there was little interest and it has now been listed publicly for sale for about two months by CBRE Limited. The building at 960 Ouellette Avenue encompasses more than 51,000 sq. ft. and includes a large gymnasium, two drive-in doors, office space, a full basement and a fenced parking lot. The former grocery store was commissioned by the Department of National Defence in 1941 as a training centre during the Second World War. It has been vacant, and largely in disrepair, since the opening of a new HMCS Hunter training centre two years ago at 90 Mill Street on the city’s west side. The new centre, built as part of the Conservative government’s Economic Action Plan, supports Windsor’s naval reservists in a naval-themed building near the Detroit River.
Citing extra duties with the recent opening of Nola’s, a Cajun and Creole restaurant in Walkerville, Chris Mickle has called a halt to the popular “Fork & Cork” festival in July, which ran for the past six years at Windsor’s Riverfront Plaza. Mickle also operates Protenders Special Events and Catering as well as the Dominion House Tavern in Sandwich. “There just isn’t time to do it all,” says Mickle. “It takes most of the year to pull together because you have to arrange for equipment, book entertainment and reach agreements with restaurants and beverage companies as well as many other details.” Mickle adds that it was a popular festival and it’s going out on a high note. And while his busy workload precludes running the festival this year he said “anything’s possible” when asked if it might return in the future. The festival showcased local restaurants, wineries, distilleries and craft beer producers while at the same time offering up national and local entertainment along the riverfront.
Operators of The Toy Box Early Childhood Education Centre will be able to add 200 more child-care spaces when its new building opens at 3966 Walker Road by mid-summer. Owner Anna Raymond expects the new centre will be open by July 1 once all the final construction and interior work is completed. Raymond says she intends to keep the Toy Box’s existing centres at 2550 McDougall Street and 2665 Howard Avenue open as well. The two freestanding locations have about 400 part-time and full-time spaces. The Toy Box also operates four latch-key programs at schools across the Windsor area. “Business has been going very well since we opened in 2002,” adds Raymond. “We’ve had quite a bit of response to our new centre since the billboard went up, but so far it has been more of a soft reveal. We expect more people will contact us once we have something tangible to show them.” Raymond, who currently has about 75 full and part-time employees, expects to add another 35 or so once the 19,000 sq. ft. centre is open.
The value of building permits issued by the City of Windsor during the first quarter of this year has dropped by more than $27 million, largely due to a major reduction in residential construction. The value of permits issued through the end of March hit $59,162,499 compared to $87,320,623 a year ago. Residential construction permits fell from $52 million to $31.6 million and government and institutional permit values dropped from $23 million to $9.4 million. Industrial construction increased from $2.2 million to $8.1 million and commercial permits showed a slight increase from $9.8 million to $9.9 million. Major construction projects include a Bellwood Poultry processing plant at 1518 Mercer Street for $7.2 million; a new library branch at 363 Mill Street for $4.39 million; renovations to a duty free store at 31 Park Street for $2 million; renovations to a Shoppers Drug Mart at 3060 Howard Avenue for $2 million and a new aircraft hangar at 3200 County Road 42 for $1.9 million.
After spending most of their service industry life as night owls, Mike and Alex Lambros have decided to become morning people and will open up Central Diner on the site of the former Ocean’s Restaurant at 2883 Howard Avenue. “I’m 56 and Alex is a little older and we’re both tired of working 14 hours a day until well after midnight,” says Mike. “Now, we’ll be open 12 hours a day, maybe work six each and be done.” The diner will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Lambros brothers had operated Lefty’s Bar and Grill and then Lefty’s On The O in downtown Windsor for 12 years before selling the business to Jim Arbour, their former Manager and Bartender, last October. Central Diner will feature old-style diner food such as hot beef, hot chicken, hot turkey and hot hamburger sandwiches as well as clubhouse sandwiches and hand-packed burgers. It’s expected to seat 50 with a staff of six when it opens perhaps by mid-June or early July.