Open house offers glimpse of Casablanca Hotel redevelopment

Bryan Levesque, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
·2 min read

Residents of Grimsby got the chance Tuesday to see what the future site of the Casablanca Hotel could look like.

Members of the public were invited Nov. 3 to offer comment on the proposed development during the in-person public open house for the property on 4 Winward Dr. — after a virtual open house took place before Grimsby council on Sept. 24.

In three half-hour sessions limited to 25 people each, planning consultants presented architectural rendering, and greater detail on the size and space of the two new buildings.

The developer, TRG Casablanca Inc., is also the current owner of the Casablanca Hotel, and is proposing demolishing it and adding two buildings to the site, one 19 storeys high as part of Phase 1, and one of 12 storeys that will follow.

The current proposal would see 420 units between both apartment and townhouse units, along with retail, and hotel space.

Development on the property was proposed in December 2017, and has since been revised.

Martin Quarcoopome, associate at Weston Consulting and a planner representing the developer, said Tuesday that the current proposal addresses concerns both residents and staff initially had with respect to parking and the design of the building itself.

“Based on what we heard from the public and from staff during the first open house, we took a step back to revaluate how we are approaching the property.”

Quarcoopome said the revised development that is currently being proposed as a part of Phase 1 would also maintain hotel space on the site.

“The intent is to redevelop the eastern portion of the property facing Winston Road for residential, hotel, conference, and retail uses to reinvigorate the property and see it grow.

“We will be working with staff; we want to have some flexibility to make sure we have some form of hotel on the property.”

The second phase of the project would see the construction of a 12-storey building that would include townhouses, apartments, and retail space on the ground floor.

One of the biggest changes to the revised proposal is an increase in the number of available parking spots.

Originally only slotted for 245 spots, Quarcoopome said the new proposal has increased the amount of parking to 909 spots — still short by 36 spots, according to what the town’s bylaw would require.

Both at the virtual open house before council, and at the in-person open house Tuesday at the Casablanca Hotel, Quarcoopome acknowledged the developer is hoping to make up that difference to meet the requirement.

“There is a deficiency of what the bylaw requires; we are currently short by 36 spaces, but will be looking to increase that total to meet the requirement.”

Quarcoopome said the next steps for the proposal will see the developer incorporate the public feedback from the open house, and work with town staff to make revisions to the plan as needed.

Bryan Levesque, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News