A feature component of 75 James will be the preservation and extension of the red-brick former Bell Telephone Building on 44 Hughson St. S. at the project’s east end. The building, Canada’s very first telephone switch station back in the 1880s, until recently housed LIUNA regional offices including Mancinelli’s own suite for 18 years.
The project has a 2025 completion target.
The 75 James Condos by LIUNA along with its developer partner Fengate and Hi Rise Group will feature 616 residential units ranging from studios to three-bedroom suites with 16,000 square feet of outdoor and indoor amenities space.
The LIUNA Local 837 space will expand with Mancinelli saying union services including optical care, physiotherapy and similar services will be included.
During the past 18 years 44 Hughson has been through a mechanical retrofit but it became apparent that it required improved accessibility, given there were only stairs.
“And so we thought, since we’re going to build this building here, let’s do a complete renovation and retrofit of the building,” said Mancinelli.
“This is a big, big project, not only the residential portion of it, but also for the Hughson historical building. It’s going to go through a dramatic interior change.
“The building itself is absolutely stunning. I mean, you can see from the architecture on the outside, it’s beautiful, the stonework, and the masonry work is absolutely outstanding.”
The bricks on 44 Hughson were manufactured at a local brickyard from the era, located in the Lawrence and Gage neighbourhood.
“It’s hard to replicate that level of craftsmanship nowadays, because in the 1880s there was an abundance of stone masons, bricklayers, and now we have a shortage of stone masons and bricklayers.”