City Expediting Major Development in Sandwich South

A major development is in the works for Sandwich South.

Local developer Abdul Habib of Habib Homes is heading up the project which will include 1,000 homes on 240 acres between the 7th and 8th Concession, but the Essex Region Conservation Authority has ordered a drainage study be completed to ensure flooding won't be an issue.

To expedite the project, city council has agreed to pre-commit $2.3-million in its 2019 and 2020 budget to cover the cost of the study which is expected to take two years.

Mayor Drew Dilkens says there's a need for a project like this in Windsor.

"We know, in Windsor, we have a very low vacancy rate right now. We know that there are bidding wars on almost every piece of residential property that hits the market. Although that sounds good, there are a lot of folks who are unable to be in the real estate market today to buy their first home because the costs are escalating so quickly."

He says the drainage study is one of the final pieces in the puzzle.

"He's been wanting to develop that land to fill the need in the market right now which is for residential homes. Sort of the last hurdle that he has to overcome is an elevation study. That area is flat as a pancake and obviously with the storms that we've had ERCA has amended their policies. What we need to do is actually undertake an elevation study for that whole swath of land."


Hilary Payne of Payne Municipal Consultants and developer Abdul Habib present to Windsor City Council on February 4, 2019 (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

Dilkens says, with the current real estate market, a thousand homes is a big deal.

"Being able to add more supply, more inventory to the housing market is actually a good thing. It helps stabilize the prices a bit and provides more opportunities for folks who are looking to buy their first home or another home. This is so important, let's get this contract out the door, let's start the process today so that we can get at least two months ahead of where we would be if we just waited until budget."

The Riverbend Heights development likely won't see shovels in the ground until at least 2020.

The $2.3-million for the drainage study was part of an overall budget pre-commitment of $10.5-million also includes $6.3-million for city wide road rehabilitation in 2019.