By Kevin Werner, News Staff
If you see a clock tower at the corner ofBarton StreetandFruitland Roadlater this summer, don’t rub your eyes. It’s actually there.
The clock tower will be attached to a new medical centre facility taking shape as part of the new $12-million commercial and retail development called Winona Crossing at the corner of Barton Street and Fruitland Road. The retail and commercial developments that are now taking place at this entrance to the city is all a plan to take advantage of what will be the addition of thousands of residents travelling through the area, said Aldo DeSantis, of Multi-Area Homes, which owns the property.
DeSantis, who began developing the property two years ago, said there will be about six medical offices operating in the facility when completed, including a doctor, dentist, an optometrist, and a pharmacy. He said the building should be open by the end of the summer, possibly August.
“This will be a first-class, landmark building,” said DeSantis, who has his head office across the street in the Fruitland Square Mall. “The clock and tower will be unique to the area.”
The other building being constructed nearby the medical centre along Barton Street is about one month behind schedule, and it will be filled will additional retail businesses, said DeSantis. He aid they are looking to sign a lease with the main tenant first, before adding other tenants. He couldn’t reveal the businesses that are looking at the location.
DeSantis said he his holding off on developing a third building in the development, which would have housed a 5,000-square-foot restaurant, until the parking has been addressed for the medical centre and the other retail facility. He said there will be a demand for parking spaces once the medical building is completed.
“The doctors came here because of the area’s potential,” he said. “We expect it to be busy.”
DeSantis began remaking the estimated 90,000-square-foot property two years ago after a decade of waiting for some signs that the city was going to complete the Stoney Creek Urban Boundary Expansion (SCUBE) secondary plan for the area. Over the last year a car wash and Esso gas station had been constructed and operational and the Tim Hortons, which had been located across Barton Street at Fruitland Square Mall, is now enjoying unexpected success because of its new drive-thru operation, said DeSantis.
“I understand the business is up 88 per cent compared to being located on the other side all because of the drive-thru,” said DeSantis.
The developer said both storage facilities are also doing well with about 40 per cent of the space taken.
The rush to develop the entire Barton Street and Fruitland Road area is in anticipation of the city approving the long-awaited SCUBE plan. The proposed plan will include realigningFruitland Roadand open up land for residential development throughout Winona, starting with the properties east of Fruitland Road. DeSantis predicts there will be about 18,000 new residents living between Fruitland Road and Fifty Road because of the new construction.
“You are going to be seeing a lot of roof tops in the area,” he said.
In the meantime, DeSantis is applauding the soon-to-be completed Gateway Ice Centre at the corner of Fruitland Road and the South Service Road, which he is expects will attract even more people to the area in search for a place to eat.
“Those parents will bring their kids and they will need a place to sit down,” he said. “It will create a lot of traffic for the area.”
So far there is no shortage of restaurants in the area for people to choose from.
In Fruitland Square Mall, a Pita Pit franchise opened March 1, and within a month a Mexican restaurant is scheduled to move into the location vacated by Tim Hortons. He would reveal the name of the restaurant.
DeSantis is also reviewing proposals for yet another restaurant on property his company owns at the corner of Fruitland and Barton, across the street from the medical building. There is up to 10,000-square-feet of space available for a stand-alone restaurant or slightly smaller eatery if a drive-thru is constructed, he said.