The first tenants of the Y Lofts will likely be moving in by December 2018, the developer said.
Hans Jain, president of Atria Development in Toronto, owns the historic Peterborough YMCA building downtown. He's converting it into 140 luxury apartments.
On Thursday night, he invited people to the main floor of the building where the Y's former reception area has been renovated into an elegant lounge.
The lounge was packed as people came to get a first glance of the renovations and learn more about the plans for the apartments. Atria is taking names from people who are interested in living there.
Jain said the building will be complete in March 2019.
Last year, he estimated that the renovations will cost somewhere between $30 million and $35 million.
Interior demolition is already underway, Jain said. The smallest apartments will be 460-square-foot bachelors and the largest will have three bedrooms plus a den (1,554 square feet).
The historic YMCA building, with its distinctive tower, has been sitting empty at George and Murray streets since 2007 when the Y moved to its new building on Aylmer St.
The building was sold for $1 to local geriatrician Dr. Jenny Ingram, who planned to convert it into a seniors' complex. She had planned a mix of commercial and residential uses for the building.
But the redevelopment plans stalled and Ingram ended up putting the building up for sale again. Atria later bought it.
Jain has had to adjust his plans recently, though: he told The Examiner that his plan for underground parking was nixed because it would require too much demolition of the historic building, for example. Now he's looking for surface parking - and it may involve a long-term lease of the eastern half of the Brock Street municipal parking lot.
That would give him about 50 parking spots - although council hasn't debated it or made a decision yet.
That's going to be part of a site plan application that is expected to come before councillors at a planning meeting, perhaps by the end of this year.
But Jain said on Thursday he has assembled 80 parking spots (he bought part of the Murray Street Baptist Church parking lot that adjoins the Y Lofts, for instance).
In the meantime he's working on the interior renovations, he said, and he's sure he'll find enough parking.
"We're working on it - but we can work on the structure, we can do other things," he said in an interview.
In his remarks to the packed reception, Jain called the building "iconic" and "majestic."
He said he's been struck by the people's emotional attachment to the historic Y and that he's keeping that in mind as he converts it into something new.
"It's been an honour to be part of this project - and restore the building, make it living again," he said.
Mayor Daryl Bennett told the crowd he was impressed.
"Your plans are spectacular," he said to Jain. "This will prove to be a catalyst for development in our community."
NOTE: The website for the Y Lofts is Y-Lofts.com.