From the owners of 55.
Once again it is time for one of our regular updates as to where we are on the 55 Delhi project.
From my understanding, we are currently scheduled to go to Guelph City Council in August for what will hopefully be the approval for the change of zoning from institutional to residential. Once the exact date is known, I will let you know. This meeting was originally scheduled for July but due to technical difficulties on the right of way leading to the building, this meeting was postponed until August.
We have also had a preliminary meeting with the city regarding the site plan yesterday. This meeting was to discuss the requirements and expectations from the city for the exterior of the site. Now that we have this information we will be continuing to work on the site plan and prepare it for submission to the city in the near future. This site plan includes the new landscape plan which our landscape architect will shortly complete. Once the siteplan has been completed including the landscape plan, we will circulate these to you for feedback and discussion.
Our biggest concern currently is timing. Assuming we get approval for the rezoning in August and for the siteplan in September/October, the earliest we could possibly see building permits is around December/January. As I wrote to you previously, this recent harsh winter has caused us numerous problems with the building. Not only did we have severe damage to the trees which unfortunately had to be removed, but we also had damage to the building foundation from tree roots growing into the foundation. This has meant that there has been significant flooding in the basement as well as erosion of the foundation. In addition, much of the fascia, soffits and other exterior woodwork are damaged as a result of general neglect in the past which has allowed squirrels and raccoons to make this building their home. We are still in the process of trying to catch them so that we can release them elsewhere in the city. We also lost the heating system as there was absolutely no insulation in the walls and there were large open holes in the attic which allowed to cold air to come in. As a result there was no way to maintain the heating over the winter which resulted in all the water pipes to freeze and burst. We had to request that the City of Guelph turn off water to the building in February which was a challenge in itself as the City’s shut-offs outside the building had seized. Luckily the city dug up their shut offs and replaced them in February.
Either way, it will be highly unlikely that we will receive building permits prior to the winter starting. As a result, we will need to secure the exterior building envelope between now and November so that the building can withstand the coming winter and until such time that the building permits are issued. Our current plans are to commence with the historical section of the building once building permits have been obtained, followed by the newer section in the back in the spring of 2015.
In order to secure the building for the winter as well as to finalise our architectural layout, we have begun to do some destructive investigation on the interior of the building. This work started earlier this week and you may have noticed my construction crew at the building. We are in the process of removing many of the recent additions to the building so that we can identify load-bearing walls and to understand the construction of the building which allows us to determine, together with an engineer, the structural integrity of the building. We are also trying to understand the extent of the asbestos in the building which will need to be removed prior to any work commencing. Finally, we are also trying to identify any historical elements that have been hidden behind recently added walls including brick work, arches, fireplaces, trimwork etc so that we can integrate these into our architectural designs and bring them to the forefront.
We are also beginning to investigate what work will need to be done to exterior of the building in preparation for the winter. In particular, we are looking at the roof, the balcony/porch, windows and installing spray-foam insulation around the exterior walls so that the building can survive the winter. I am meeting with a representative from the City of Guelph’s historical preservation department at the building next week to discuss these items and to get his views as to how to best do this work while retaining the historical elements that make this building so spectacular.
Once we have completed this assessment and determined a game plan moving forward, we will be requesting building permits to replace windows later on this summer. We will also be working on the woodwork around the building although the extent of this is not yet known.
This is brief (or maybe not so brief, lol) update as to where we are. As usual, if there are any questions or concerns, please feel free to bring them to my attention. Also, as this project progresses, I will continue to update you on any addition progress as it is made.
I wish you all the very best and hope to see and/or speak with you in the near future.RE