Back to the Drawing Board for the IMICo Site

In 1989, the International Malleable Iron Company (IMICo) shut down their foundry at 200 Beverly Street, which had been operating in the Ward for nearly 80 years at that point. Environmental concerns, the size of the site, and a fringe religious group have all been impediments to initiating some direction on the abandonedproperty, and despite recent signs of progress, there’s still no path forward for 200 Beverly Street.

In a short media statement on Wednesday, the City of Guelph declared that the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the City of Guelph, the developer ARQi R&D Inc., and Habitat for Humanity Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph expired on December 31, 2020.

“The City and ARQi R&D Inc. were unable to reach an agreement on the terms and conditions for an agreement of purchase and sale,” the statement read. “The City is working on next steps and plans to bring recommendations for moving ahead with site redevelopment to Council later this year.”

Manager of Economic Development Christine Chapman told Guelph Politico last month that there would be an information report for council concerning the IMICo site in the new year. Information reports are typically released on Friday afternoon, and so far no report on this project has been released.

Steve Howard, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity, told Guelph Politico in a statement that the process of moving forward with plans for the site was prolonged due to negotiations between the City and ARQi R&D, but he seemed positive that good news would be coming to council once “details with the developer [were] resolved.”

“City staff have advised us that they will be bringing a new proposal to City Council in the new year,” Howard said. “They have also advised that the commitment for the property to contain a significant affordable housing component will continue, and that Habitat will be asked to continue to steer coordination among various organizations that will have an interest in affordable housing.”

The City of Guelph statement also notes that the Record of Site condition is currently in progress with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and that report is expected to be done before the end of the year. Previous environmental investigations on the property have revealed the presence of petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and metal(s), chemicals that are typically found in gasoline and paint.

This marks the third time that the City of Guelph has been unable to move forward with a plan for 200 Beverly Street. The City issued a request for proposals for the site in 2006 and 2012, and both failed to generate any interest from a developer. The memorandum of understanding between the City, ARQi R&D and Habitat was approved by council in 2016, and went into effect on January 1, 2017.

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