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10-unit apartment complex proposed for Front Street

Developer John Lally is adamant that the project will not alter the look of the historic downtown; 'You won’t even be able to see this building from the streetscape'

Local developer John Lally is planning to build a small 10-unit apartment complex on Front Street, but he is adamant the project will not alter the look of the historic downtown.

Last year, Lally bought 11 Front St S — also known as the Stone Store — and gave the heritage building a much-needed facelift. Now he’s looking to build an apartment complex in the vacant lot behind the property.

On Tuesday morning, Lally, and his planner Cam Lang, attended a meeting of the city’s Heritage Committee, to ask them to waive their right to a heritage impact assessment.

“This is a completely separate building,” explained Lang. “There’s about 14 feet of separation distance between where you see the existing building.”

The previous owners of 11 Front St. S already build a red brick addition that wasn’t part of the original heritage site, and the complex would be built 14 feet behind that structure.

Because of the difference in elevation, the complex would not be visible from Front St.

“It is two stories,” said Lang. “It’s actually a lower height than the Stone Store itself so you won’t even be able to see this building from the streetscape, from Front Street itself.”

While Lally originally planned for ten units, he is considering making it nine so there will be extra parking for tenants.

Tuesday morning wasn't Lally's first rodeo at the city's heritage committee. For the past year, he has worked closely with the committee and a structural engineer to restore the original facade of the heritage building.

“I absolutely have no intentions of touching that front facade,” he said. “As far as the heritage protected part at the front I feel that we did a fantastic job making it look exactly the same. We kept all that intact.”

Because the Stone Store is situated next to an alleyway, the entrance of the apartment complex will not be on Front St. itself. 

“There won’t be any evidence of this building on Front St,” said heritage committee chair Anna O’Hare. “It will be invisible unless you walk down that laneway. I personally don’t think this impacts the heritage value of the existing Stone Store whatsoever.”

Committee member Tom Russell asked Lally what would happen if anything of archaeological value would turn up during construction.

“We have done phase one and phase two archaeological [studies] and nothing turned up,” Lally answered. “If anything is found we would definitely notify you.”

Because the development will not impact the Stone Store itself, the heritage committee waived the need for an heritage impact assessment. 

The project will still need to go through a few processes before construction can commence.

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Bernard Lansbergen

About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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