Victor Boutin was in Chatham with The Everlast Group recently to announce a new $9 million construction project to build a student residence in Downtown Chatham.
Located in the former YMCA building on King Street West, La Residence construction began in November of last year, and when completed, will be able to house up to 200 international students.
“As part of our commitment to prove that Chatham-Kent is the right community for investment, we have launched an aggressive build timeline to have La Residence completed in a little over a year,” Boutin, principal at Everlast Group, said Feb. 14. “There was a need identified in the community and we are happy to be able to step forward and work with our partners to lead a significant investment that will address that need.”
According to La Residence project supervisor, Brian Chute, there are three project phases in the timeline, with phase one set to be complete in March; phase two is planned for June; and phase three is planned to wrap up at the end of December.
“This is a very important project not only because it breathes new life into an old building, it also increases the number of affordable spaces for students to live. This endeavour will support St Clair College’s growth and development,” said Frank Moceri, Industry Liaison at St. Clair College.
Taking the media on a tour of the construction site, Boutin said each section will house four students, each in their own room, with a shower and washroom in the suite, and a common kitchen area and living room.
“There will also be a large common room, a gym, and outside, we will refinish the tennis court and we’ll be doing something with the waterfront as well. We find that here, you don’t use the waterfront enough, so that’s why we will have canoe and kayak opportunities for the students, and maybe we will create some racing and that kind of thing,” Boutin said of his plans to make the residence an enjoyable student experience.
As part of the process to ensure that La Residence construction is proceeding as smoothly as possible, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent Building Department has been working closely with the Everlast Group to ensure that all plans and construction activities are up to code, safe for the community, and able to move forward.
“I have seen the plans for this new student residence and they are amazing,” said Darrin Canniff, Chatham-Kent mayor. “I’m aware that housing can at times be a barrier so it’s fantastic when the municipality can work with local developers to help eliminate those barriers.”
“Not only is the initial $9-million investment positive for all of Chatham-Kent, but the economic spinoffs of having 200 more people in the downtown Chatham core will be important for local business,” Canniff added. “Think about it – we’ll have 200 students coming to downtown Chatham and creating a lot of economic activity. We hope a lot of them will choose to stay here in Chatham-Kent.” Following the completion of phase three in 2019, it is planned that students will be able to begin accessing the residence in line with the St. Clair College semester schedule.