The office of Mayor Fred Eisenberger reports that Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) has accepted the city's offer to buy a restored Lister Building for office space and a guarantee that LIUNA will add a condo development as phase 2 of the redevelopment.
The deal was reached over last-minute negotiations between LIUNA Vice-President Joe Mancinelli, Hi-Rise Group president Warren Green, acting city manager Joe Rinaldo and Mayor Eisenberger.
It's not yet clear what prompted LIUNA to change their minds about the city offer after vociferously rejecting it last week. They may have reconsidered the likelihood that the province will designate the building as a provincial heritage site in accordance with the recommendation of the Ontario Heritage Trust, recently released through a freedom of information request.
In any case, it will serve to break the impasse that has left the building empty and neglected for nearly a decade since LIUNA bought it in 1999.
The Lister Building was designated as a municipal heritage site in 1996, but council voted to approve a demolition request in 2006. Responding to an outcry by heritage advocates, an intervention by then-Culture Minister Caroline Di Cocco, LIUNA and the city agreed to strike an ad hoc committee to find a compromise solution.
After two years of turbulence and more than one impasse, the city and LIUNA finally cobbled together a deal to renovate the Lister into office space and sell it to the city for $25 million, plus another $7 million grant from the province.
That deal collapsed last week when the two sides could not agree on the terms for a condition bond to guarantee that LIUNA goes ahead with a phase 2 condo development.
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