A senior’s co-living development proposed for the edge of the Ward will be affordable for seniors, says the owner of the property who has strong family ties to the neighbourhood.
Michael Flaman’s grandparents, Frank Zuccala and Helen Ferraro, purchased the property at 76 Wyndham St. S. in 1949, from Guelph Yarns Ltd.
At that time, that part of the street was still named Crawford Street, not yet renamed Wyndham.
If a proposal coming before Guelph City Council is accepted, the property will be severed, with a duplex built on one portion and a four-storey senior’s co-living development built on the other.
Flaman said the intention is for all of the units to be priced similarly and affordable for people living on a fixed income or pension.
Flaman said both of his grandparents grew up in the Ward. His grandfather on Huron Street, while his grandmother was raised on Alice Street.
“Frank served in the army during World War II then came home to the Ward and got married,” said Flaman.
A carpenter by trade, his grandfather built the house at what was then 32 Crawford St. The couple raised three children in the house, including Flaman’s mother, and welcomed six grandchildren.
“I basically grew up in this house,” said Flaman, who is now the owner of the property.
Years later, the couple built a Tastee Freez on the adjacent part of the property. It operated in the 1960s and 1970s, said Flaman.
The family home is still standing, but is currently being rented out. The commercial building that was once the Tastee Freez was more recently rented out and being used as a used car lot, but has been vacant for years.
Both the house and former Tastee Freez will be demolished to make way for the proposed developments.
“It would clean up that corner property. It was nice back in the day, but it’s been pretty vacant,” he said.
Although the units will be open to anyone to apply for, he said he would like to see the project as way for seniors currently living in the Ward to downsize and continue to live in their neighbourhood.
“The St. Patrick’s Ward neighbourhood is a tight-knit community,” he said. “I am not a big developer from Toronto or Waterloo, this is our family property.”
The development is in walking distance to restaurants and stores on Wellington Street, Flaman noted.
Flaman intends on living in the duplex that will be built and rent out the other half.
The proposed senior’s co-living development would include nine units, with either three or four people sharing each unit.
Each resident would have a bedroom and bathroom and shared access to a common kitchen and living room.
Flaman said there is also plan for a 1,000 square-foot common space on the first floor.
An elevator would service the units on all floors to make it more accessible for the seniors who will be living there.
Flaman said the co-living model for seniors will help to mitigate Guelph’s rental shortage while at the same time reinvigorating and intensifying the downtown core.
“It’s a model that lends itself to people who are aging and don’t want to live alone, but are living on a budget. It solves a lot of problems,” said Flaman.
The proposal will be heard for the first time at a planning meeting at Guelph City Council on Jan. 27 and a final decision will come sometime after that.