Market conditions, labour shortages cited as major downtown Oshawa development delayed

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Published June 27, 2024 at 3:56 pm

A major high-rise development at the south-east edge of Oshawa’s downtown might take a couple of years longer than anticipated to come to fruition.

The pouring of the foundation – marking the beginning of construction – is now expected to be complete by September 30, 2026 on the Medallion project on the south side of Bruce Street (across the street from the Tribute Communities Centre) instead of the original date of 23 months earlier on October 31 of this year.

Medallion wants to build two rental towers in the first phase – one 22 storeys and the other ten, with both connected via a three-storey podium  – at 135 Bruce Street, the site of the former Fittings Factory. The total number of units is expected to be more than 500.

The delay could cost the company a lot of money in increased assessment grants, which have conditions attached to construction starts, and the company asked Oshawa Council for an extension, citing “market conditions and uncertainty, labour shortages and general construction delays” as the reasons for the delays.

City staff have been working with Medallion over the past 18 months to finalize the deal and was “agreeable” to the extension, which will now commit the developer to having the foundation finished by the end of September in 2026 and the project ready for occupancy by December 31, 2028.

Once one of Oshawa’s largest employers, the Fittings Factory was a key reason Oshawa was known as the ‘Manchester of Canada’ in the early years of the 20th century and was an operating business until 1987. Ravaged by fire (twice) and neglect, the building was torn down three years later and the land has been vacant ever since.

Originally the Oshawa Stove Works (1873-1894), the Fittings Factory opened in 1902 and there were as many as 800 workers making pipe fittings in its heyday.

It was also a key part of Oshawa’s labour history with contract disputes both before and after unionization. The workers joined General Motors employees at the United Auto Workers in 1937 and there were walkouts in 1935 and 1944, a strike in 1940 and more labour unrest in the 1970s, eventually leading to the company going into receivership in 1987.

There was an attempt by a western Canadian developer in the 90s to bring new life to the property but those plans fell through and the land was bought by Medallion in 2011.

Medallion’s request for an extension was approved by Oshawa Council Monday.

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