Niagara looking for St. Catharines hotels, motels to possibly convert into housing


Published May 16, 2023 at 11:29 am

Niagara Region has released an Expression of Interest to see if hotel and motels owners in St. Catharines would be interested in selling their properties so they can be converted into supportive housing.

While it’s not as simple as handing over the keys and collecting a cheque, the properties must meet a list of requirements that the Region would then assess for their potential for conversion.

According to Peter Criscione, a communications consultant with the Region, this is the second time Niagara has issued an Expression of Interest to motel-hotel property owners for the supportive housing initiative.

“Supportive Housing is not a new initiative,” he told inniagararegion. “In January 2022, Niagara Region opened its first Permanent Supportive housing building on Victoria Ave in Niagara Falls.”

“As the last build was opened in Niagara Falls, Niagara Region is currently looking for similar opportunities for a build in St Catharines.”

The region released a set of criteria to property owners over what they believe would be an ideal property for conversion. They include:

  • 25 to 35 units of housing, office and staff space
  • Zoning requirements for supportive housing or able to rezone
  • The ability for Niagara Region to renovate the space for full occupancy by approximately December 2023
  • Each room have space for a small fridge and microwave, kitchenette or kitchen sink. If unavailable, then enough space to add these amenities to an existing room.
  • Meets all fire and building code requirements or can correct them within project timelines
  • Ideally located with one kilometre of public transit, grocery store, pharmacy, community centre, park or library and within three kilometeres of health care services or hospital

So what happens if a motel-hotel owner offers his/hers up and it meets the criteria, we asked Criscione. Is it then purchased by the region?

“Short answer is no,” he replied. “An Expression of Interest (EOI) would just let the Region know if there are motel-hotel owners in the community that would be open to selling as one option.”

The funding for this program has been allocated to Niagara by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing as part of the Homelessness Prevention Program.

“In March, Niagara Region received an increase of  $9.1 million to base funding to support with Homeless and prevention initiatives across Niagara,” said Criscione.

However, the deadline for submission is this Friday (May 19). Interested parties should contact Nicole Ens, Real Estate Coordinator at Niagara Region.

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