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Medallion's SOHOSQ brings 588 apts. to former London hospital site

Two-tower project a key component of major downtown redevelopment

The SOHOSQ development site in London, by Medallion Developments. (Courtesy Geoff Fitzgerald / Medallion)
The SOHOSQ development site in London, Ont., by Medallion Developments. (Courtesy Geoff Fitzgerald / Medallion)

SOHOSQ, a key element of the City of London's redevelopment plans for a former hospital site at the edge of its downtown, is nearing completion with occupancy of its 588 apartments expected to begin in January.

The development at 391 South St. in the western Ontario city is being led by Toronto-based Medallion Corporation.

The site was formerly occupied by South Street Hospital, which was previously named Victoria Hospital and demolished in 2013. The City of London put it on the market as part of its Old Victoria South Street Secondary Plan.

Medallion submitted the winning bid and construction on the 19- and 23-storey towers, along with an eight-storey podium, began in July 2020.

“There's a larger community which comprises the old Victoria Hospital land, where some buildings are being demolished and some buildings are being retained and modified,” Medallion director of development and construction Rad Vucicevich told RENX.

“There's going to be affordable housing components, market rentals, commercial and a rehabilitation of the Thames River just south of our property. That whole thing is going to be enhanced and modified with bike paths and walking paths and sitting areas, so it's opening up the river to the community.”

Medallion isn’t involved with any of the subsequent projects that will be part of the area’s redevelopment, but Vucicevich said it would be interested if another opportunity arose.

What SOHOSQ has to offer

Medallion partnered with the City of London on brownfield revitalization to create SOHOSQ on the site. The process involved removing 48,000 tons of contaminated soil and cost $4.3 million.

“We actually spend the $4.3 million and then we get a credit in our development charges,” Vucicevich explained. “London's a very good municipality to work with and we've done several buildings there.”

To qualify for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Apartment Construction Loan Program, Vucicevich said about 25 per cent of SOHOSQ’s units will rent at 20 per cent below London’s median household income and be considered affordable.

He expects the property to provide housing for students, families, seniors and newcomers.

SOHOSQ’s amenities will include a fitness centre, a games room, a party room, laundry facilities, a theatre room and a rooftop terrace overlooking the Thames River.

Heritage building will be preserved

A rendering of the SOHOSQ development in London, Ont. (Courtesy Medallion)
A rendering of the SOHOSQ development in London, Ont. (Courtesy Medallion)

In addition to the two-tower development, a two-and-a-half-storey yellow brick heritage building formerly used for hospital administration is being transformed into commercial studio spaces to support the broader growth of the community.

Marketing for what’s known as The Colbourne Building should begin early next year in conjunction with the opening of SOHOSQ, Vucicevich said.

Toronto-based Medallion is a fully integrated private real estate development and property management company with a portfolio comprised of land, multifamily buildings, single-family homes and communities, as well as office, retail and industrial properties.

Medallion has built three multifamily buildings in London’s East Village neighbourhood and has applied to build a fourth in the area Vucicevich noted is also part of the city’s revitalization plan.

“We go in and we become the catalyst for growth in certain areas that other developers wouldn't even consider,” said Vucicevich.

Other major London housing developments

London is in the midst of a housing boom with several other projects that are planned or already underway, including:

  • Old Oak Properties' development of 6,370 homes on the 160-acre site of the former London Psychiatric Hospital on Highbury Avenue that will include several high-rise towers and more than 120 single-detached homes;
  • York Developments’ construction of 53- and 43-storey towers with 800 units along with a four-storey commercial podium and 550 parking spaces at 50 King St.;
  • Ayerswood Development Corp.'s 25-storey apartment building with 139 units, which is the first of three residential towers to be built on the site of the former London Mews shopping plaza near Dundas and Clarence streets;
  • Old Oak’s 250-unit first phase of a three-tower development at Talbot and Fullarton streets that will have about 650 units upon completion;
  • York’s recently approved 25-storey, 219-unit apartment at 735 Wonderland Rd.;
  • Sifton Properties’ proposal for nearly 1,100 new homes on land in northeast London near Fanshawe Conservation Area;
  • Esam Group’s proposal to build 3,817 homes in high-rise buildings and townhouses on 91 acres at 323 Oxford St. and 92 and 825 Proudfoot Lane in west London;
  • and York’s proposal for two 33-storey apartments with 408 units, along with a six-storey commercial podium and more than 800 parking spaces, on a 13-acre site at 530 Oxford St.

It is a lot of activity for the city of over 422,000 residents - a total of about 13,500 units proposed in those projects alone - but Vucicevich said it's not a surprise so much is in the development pipeline.

“It was just lacking in supply,” Vucicevich said of London’s housing situation. “and now the demand is being fulfilled.”

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