The Connolly condo project put into receivership
A downtown highrise condominium project at the site of the former James Street Baptist Church has gone into receivership.
The Connolly — owned by Louie Santaguida — was placed in receivership on June 22, according to a notice from receiver msi Spergel inc. posted to the fence of the James Street South property.
“I’m certainly disappointed,” said Ward 2 Coun. Jason Farr. “We worked very hard with the proponent … in seeing the approvals process come to play.”
Farr said he plans to meet with planning staff Tuesday to discuss “what sort of timelines and what potential there is in the short term.”
The project has been envisioned as a 30-storey, $80-million undertaking. Santaguida could not be reached for comment late Monday, but in May 2016 he told The Spectator the 259 units were between 70 and 75 per cent sold. Deposits for the project were 20 per cent of unit sale prices, which ranged from about $250,000 to $500,000.
Despite project delays, most early birds were staying the course, he said at the time, but those who wanted out could receive refunds on their deposits as agreements of purchase and sale were amended.
According to Tarion Warranty Corp., which offers buyers warranty plans for new homes, deposits on condos are protected up to $20,000, with amounts over that covered under the Condominium Act.
News of the receivership comes after Mimico condo project On The Go, which was being developed by Terrasan 327 Royal York Rd. Limited, went into receivership in late February. Santaguida has an interest in Terrasan.
According to the receivership application approved by an Ontario Superior Court judge last month, Duca Financial Services Credit Union Ltd. says it is owed more than $5 million by 220 Co., a corporation that lists Santaguida as its sole officer and director.
A mortgage loan was advanced around July 8, 2015 to provide financing for The Connolly condo project. The application says the term of the loan ended on July 8, 2016, but was extended to August 8 and again to September 8. According to the application, Duca “caused its lawyers … to make demand upon 220 Co. for payment of the aforesaid amounts” on Dec. 13, 2016.
The Durand Neighbourhood Association, which has had concerns about the project from its inception in 2013, is “very, very disappointed” with the news, said president Frances Murray.
“We didn’t feel comfortable with the whole project right from the beginning but the decision was made and the city has to live with the consequences, which is the 80 per cent demolished church and no new residences to make it all better,” she said.
Municipal heritage committee chair Alissa Denham-Robinson said she plans to ask staff to provide information on the situation at this week’s meeting.
“The hope is if they have gone into receivership, the property can go into the hands of a developer that can pursue the project,” she said.
A Spectator investigation from 2014 also revealed Santaguida had three associated companies go bankrupt and two others placed into receivership since 2011.
The project at the corner of James and Jackson streets has been envisioned as a 30-storey, $80-million undertaking.