An artist rendering of the redeveloped Lambton County Shared Services Centre. (Handout.)An artist rendering of the redeveloped Lambton County Shared Services Centre. (Handout.)

County finalizes long-sought lease in major Bayside Mall redevelopment

Lambton County Council has finalized a 20-year lease with Seasons Retirement Communities as part of a major redevelopment of Sarnia's Bayside Centre.

The lease, negotiated over two years, was authorized in a virtual meeting Wednesday and includes an option to purchase the fully renovated building at 150 Christina St. N. at a later date.

"This is a significant economic project for the County of Lambton and, of course, the downtown core of the City of Sarnia, one not seen in a generation," said Warden Bill Weber. "This will alter the landscape of the downtown, for the better, and may very well act as a catalyst for future investments."

Weber said the lease will see the county occupy about 56,000 square feet on the main and second floor and about another 24,000 square feet on the lower basement floor.

Renovation work is scheduled to begin this month and is expected to take about 18 to 24 months to complete.

The county's social services, court services and public health programs will continue to be delivered out of alternate temporary locations within the Bayside Centre while renovations are underway.

When complete, the county services will be in a stand-alone two-storey building and the rest of the mall will be demolished to make way for two new residential retirement towers and additional assisted living accommodations.

In March, the City of Sarnia approved the sale of the mall lands to Seasons for $1 million and with the lease now in place the Oakville-based company is expected to begin work this summer.

A 7,000 square foot piece of property at the corner of Vidal Street and George Street, was to be transferred back to the city on closing for a future transit terminal.

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