City Saves Taxpayers $10.7-mil With Sale Of Remaining Space At Canderel Building

The City of Windsor is cutting ties with the Canderel Building.

Council has agreed to sell the city-owned parking garage attached to the building to Toronto-based company EuroPro.

EuroPro bought the building at 1 Riverside Drive in 2016 for more than $30-million.

Mayor Drew Dilkens says the sale results in a $10.7-million savings for Windsor taxpayers.

Dilkens says the city was on the hook for $1.1-million each year in operating costs as well.

"There were ongoing costs to taxpayers that would go on to 2101. So I can't change the past, but when I look at the hand that we're dealt, I have to play the hand we're dealt. When I look at the cards that I have in my hand, this is absolutely the best deal for the taxpayers moving forward."

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Mayor Drew Dilkens at City Council, October 4th, 2016 (Photo by AM800's Kristylee Varley)

He says now was the right time to make the deal.

"You have new ownership in the building that bought the building in 2016. Immediately, when they purchased the building, they were in my office wanting to have meetings figuring out how to disentangle and the one condition that I had during the discussions is that I want to resolve everything so that I can go to the taxpayers and say, "You are no longer part of this deal."

The city opened the $49.8-million building in 2002 when Chrysler was considering moving its Canadian headquarters.

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Councillor Bill Marra at Windsor City Council on October 3, 2016 (Photo by Kristylee Varley)

Councillor Bill Marra was on council when that decision was made and says at the time it made sense.

"When you look back at when this decision evolved and the investment made by the taxpayer, it was a very different environment. I wouldn't suggest that Chrysler was threatening to pull out of Windsor, however, they were making a case that they had to look at other options and it was a real option for them to leave the city."

Marra says if Chrysler left, it would have been devastating for the community.

"The net impact is about 20,000 jobs. You start doing the math on that, and that's not my math, talk to the auto experts, these are real dollars in our community. It's tens of millions of dollars in payroll in this community. So I think that has to be factored into it. If we didn't have the Chrysler presence here, this community would look entirely different."

Marra adds, he'd like to see a portion of the savings re-directed to improvements at the Pelissier and Chatham Street parking garages.

Dilkens says it's time to move forward.

"We're trying to find a way to make it right, to disentangle the city. We shouldn't be in the business of renting space. It's just not our core function to do this. That's the question and this is what this solves. This is a great deal for taxpayers and they should be very happy that they're not longer having to be involved in funding this building."

No further operating costs at the Canderel building will be charged to taxpayers as of January 1, 2018.

 

- with files from AM800's Rob Hindi