Conversion of a former gas building into luxury condos in St. Catharines is still underway
The owner of the former Provincial Gas building on Church Street says he plans to open a sales office within a month as he moves forward with converting the property into luxury condos.
Ed Ulrich said he aims for the exterior of the six-story building at 15 Church St. — stripped of exposed yellow insulation for more than a year — to be closed by the end of October or early November .
The 45-unit condo project at the corner of William Street is expected to be completed by September 2023, he said.
“These will be very substantial units and should look very luxurious,” he said. “I think ours are going to challenge everyone to be the nicest.”
Ulrich admitted that the building didn’t look so good right now.
“I made it very ugly for two years,” he said, adding that he heard about it from the city’s director of economic development and mayor Walter Sendzik, who urged him to paint. on the “Snap” graffiti tag atop the building last year.
“We repainted for them, but I can’t do anything about the insulation,” Ulrich said. “I know the neighborhood looks like hell, but I promise it will be a gem. He will turn into a diamond.
Ulrich said that after the difficult process of removing the stainless steel from the exterior of the building, the integrity of the “exterior skin” was left in place to keep the interior dry and rust-free without having to put in place temporary closures. That means the next steps, including window replacements, will be easy with the rest already stripped, he said.
Ulrich started working with a designer for the building at the end of 2019 and put together a team. When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, the project was halted for a year. He then changed architects and said he was satisfied with the design.
Part of the interior work took place with pipes and asbestos removal. Once the new exterior glass is in place, the interior finishes can begin.
The plan includes 33 two-bedroom, six one-bedroom, three one-bedroom plus den and three one-bedroom plus loft units. There are also two commercial units at the front with 176 and 233 square meters (1,900 and 2,500 square feet) each, plus basements. Prices are not finalized yet.
Ulrich said it will be a green building with geothermal heating and cooling and each unit will have its own heat pump, a benefit to the environment and residents’ energy bills. There will be large windows, floor storage and additional soundproofing in the floors and walls.
Other exterior works will include balconies added on two sides. The design of the building will feature aluminum resembling vertical steel columns and horizontal wooden beams. There is an existing car park but Ulrich is thinking of adding an automatic car park.
He has yet to apply for a building permit from the city, but said he is still starting to place purchase orders for materials. The property is zoned for high density residential mixed use.
Ulrich is converting the building at the same time that a 30-story condo tower is proposed a few blocks away on James Street.
He said the projects are very different and will not compete for the same buyers. While 88 James St. is expected to have suites ranging in size from 46 to 72 square meters (498 to 777 square feet), the 15 Church St. project will have units between 63 and 223 square meters (680 to 2,400 square feet).
“It’s totally different,” he said. “Mine is more about someone moving out of a house, wanting to close the doors and travel for five or six months a year, and come back without having to mow the grass or worry about anything and always have the luxury of a home.”