Feasibility study to inform on redevelopment of Providence Manor building

Providence Manor. Kingstonist file photo.

Providence Village Inc. (PVI) is exploring the possibility of redeveloping the existing 220,000-square-foot Providence Manor building into a community hub that will support the critical needs of affordable housing and community services for vulnerable populations in Kingston and the surrounding area.

The prospective Providence Commons project will possibly see the building at 275 Sydenham Street be repurposed, with a specific focus on supporting women and women-led households, according to a release from PVI. The organization is advancing the feasibility work on behalf of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, the owners of the Providence Manor property. This possible project would align with the redevelopment and relocation of Providence Manor to its new home at Providence Village as the Sisters determine the future use of the property.

Readers may remember that the concept for Providence Commons went before Kingston City Council in September 2022, where Council supported a feasibility study on the potential project

On Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, PVI announced the successful bid of Tim Welch Consulting Inc. (TWC), with partner Shoalts and Zaback Architects Ltd. (SZA), for the Request for Proposal (RFP) aimed at conducting a feasibility business case and engaging potential housing and community service providers and/or developers for the prospective Providence Commons project.

“We are delighted to engage Tim Welch Consulting and Shoalts and Zaback Architects in this essential business case evaluation as part of the next exploration and feasibility phase of the prospective Providence Commons project,” shared Laurie French, President & CEO of Providence Village Inc. “Their extensive experience, spanning from a local understanding of the site and design to a comprehensive grasp of available solutions and creative collaborations across Ontario, uniquely positions them to examine the feasibility of this ambitious project and engage with potential local partners to deliver their housing initiatives, programs and services”.

According to the release, following a thorough evaluation process, TWC, together with SZA, emerged as the ideal team to explore the feasibility of this transformative project and engage in partner and community engagement.

“TWC supports the creation of new affordable housing solutions across Ontario, from homelessness support to rental housing and affordable ownership housing. They have supported more than 35 affordable housing development projects reach the construction and completion stage, adding over 1,200 units of affordable housing throughout Ontario,” PVI stated. “Architecture partner SZA has built an extensive portfolio of public and private sector projects in Kingston throughout their 30-year history. They specialize in providing feasibility studies and have extensive expertise in adaptive re-use and additions to heritage structures.”

The consulting team will explore and present positive and financially viable solutions for creating a prospective community hub at Providence Commons, PVI noted. Additionally, they will engage in strategic community engagement over the next few months and seek out potential partnership arrangements with a mix of not-for-profit agencies, community groups and/or private sector organizations focused on housing and community services in the Kingston area. They will subsequently develop a feasibility assessment business case that aligns with the Sisters’ vision and mission for Providence Commons – for it to provide a safe, life-giving dwelling place with community programs that meet the needs of vulnerable populations in downtown Kingston. According to the release, their findings and insights will ultimately inform the next steps in the project.

“TWC, in collaboration with SZA, is thrilled to be working with Providence Village Inc. on this exciting and important initiative to create a viable solution to allow the existing Providence Manor building and resources to continue to serve the community for decades to come,” stated Tim Welch, Principal, TWC.

According to the release, PVI looks forward to the valuable insights and recommendations that will arise from TWC’s expert analysis and community partner engagement. Upon the successful completion of TWC’s feasibility study, PVI will deliver an informed recommendation to the Sisters regarding the suggested future use of their property at 275 Sydenham Street based on the findings and conclusions presented in the report.

Learn more about the prospective Providence Commons project here.

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