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Letting go of the Ledo: Hotel demo marks new beginning for Sudbury

Grant Cameron
Letting go of the Ledo: Hotel demo marks new beginning for Sudbury
ARICK00/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS - Demolition of the Ledo Hotel in the downtown South District area of Sudbury, Ont. is complete. It took four weeks and was carried out by LaCroix Construction.

Just four weeks after the project began, demolition of the Ledo Hotel in the downtown South District area of Sudbury, Ont. is complete.

The site has been backfilled and fenced in and construction crews are getting ready to knock down three conjoined apartment buildings that are nearby on the same block.

Abatement work on the apartment buildings has been wrapped up and heavy equipment has been brought in. The tear-down is expected to take a few weeks, paving the way for redevelopment of the area.

The city has been acquiring downtown properties in the South District and razing them to make way for redevelopment.

The land will be available for redevelopment, which increases the city’s capacity to respond to new opportunities and stimulate an economic hub, according to Tanya Gravel, a spokesperson for the city.

“Choices about specific future land uses will be subject to further consideration,” she notes. “In the coming months the city will embark on an updated downtown master plan which envisions amplifying the role of the South District as a regional destination for fun, arts, events and recreation.”

Investments in the district will allow the municipality to capitalize on the synergies of existing amenities and publicly owned sites that have been identified as suitable for new cultural uses, she says.


Part of a greater vision

Demolition of the Ledo Hotel began in January under LaCroix Construction.

During the knock down, materials such as wood, brick and concrete were separated into piles on the construction site and then transferred into bins and exported off-site to waste diversion locations. Steel and copper were recycled.

Demolition of the apartment buildings is expected to take a few weeks.

The projects are part of a greater vision for downtown Sudbury.

Several projects are in the works or completed.

City council wants to make the South District a regional hub for various types of activities. The city is also deciding whether to build a new event centre or refurbish the arena in the downtown.

Plans are progressing on a cultural hub at Tom Davies Square. Last November, city council approved a $65-million budget to retrofit buildings at 200 Brady St. and 199 Larch St. to include a new central library, Art Gallery of Sudbury and Sudbury Multicultural and Folk Arts Association.

The project will provide residents with a variety of services in one centralized location. An RFP has been posted for design and consulting services for the project and will close in late February.

Once the project is awarded, it will immediately move to the design stage. As part of the project, the city intends to promote an accessible and inclusive environment while reducing emissions.

The plan is to begin schematic design of the hub in the second quarter of this year.


Renovate or build new?

In April, the city will decide whether to renovate the existing Sudbury Community Arena or build a new arena and event centre.

City staff have been asked to provide further direction on the options.

A report is being prepared that will evaluate the potential of both options to attract complementary investment to the South District, provide an estimated budget to complete each option and look at possible financing plans for each.

City council had considered developing a new arena and event centre on The Kingsway, which would have been accompanied by a private casino and hotel, but the proposed venture was killed in 2022 after the cost ballooned to $215 million from its original price tag of $100 million.

Staff were directed to cancel all contracts and explore options for a new or refurbished arena in the downtown.

“The report being provided to council during the April 16, 2024, meeting will include an updated costing and timeline for both a renovation option and a new build option,” says Gravel.


Downtown renewal in progress

One large project has already been completed in the South District.

A Place des Arts opened to the public in April 2022. It is the first multidisciplinary arts centre in northeastern Ontario and permanent home of seven francophone cultural organizations. The city contributed $5 million in capital funding, the land for the facility on a long-term lease and an annual operating subsidy.

To advance redevelopment and rejuvenation of the South District, city council has bought up several properties for $12 million and is pursuing the expropriation of 187 Shaughnessy St. The city says the expropriation process includes many steps which require a number of months to complete.

Gravel says acquiring the properties is important as it signals council’s intention to make downtown renewal happen, it sends a a strong message to the community and the private sector, and it aligns with the city’s core value to demonstrate foresight by acting today in the interests of tomorrow.

“Downtowns are important. They are the historic and symbolic heart of a community, the reflection of a city’s image, pride and prosperity. A healthy, active and successful downtown makes a positive statement about the prosperity of a city, sending a confident message to future residents, businesses and investors.

“Thoughtful investments in community infrastructure, specifically in the South District of the downtown, will show an important first impression and welcoming image for those entering Greater Sudbury.”

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