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Di Gregorio Developments buys Thunder Bay Country Club property

The new owners will take time to consider how to proceed with a stalled condo project on the golf course

THUNDER BAY — The golf course at the Thunder Bay Country Club will continue to operate while the new owners of the property take time to evaluate their options, specifically including the future of an unfinished condominium project.

Di Gregorio Developments Inc. has purchased the site from the local owners of two corporations that held the titles to the golf course portion of the property and to the plot where the condo project is located.

One member of the ownership group told TBnewswatch they couldn't wait any longer for the condos to be built.

The 109-unit development was started in 2012, but the project experienced delays, changes in contractors and altered schedules over the following decade, leaving essentially only the foundation completed at this point.

Silvio Di Gregorio, president of Di Gregorio Developments, said the foundation will remain protected against the elements as the company takes "the next year or two to take a look at the whole project and see what makes sense."

The firm, he said, has taken extra measures to insulate it, seal it, and keep it watertight, so it remains fit to be re-used from an engineering standpoint. 

In a Wednesday interview, Di Gregorio described the golf course as a valuable asset located in a good part of the city, but said the firm intends to let the members of the TBCC continue running it for the foreseeable future.

"We have to look at the whole property and 'master plan' it all with the intention of keeping the golf course there in some format for a long time, as long as the country club is in a position to continue to run it," he said.

The Thunder Bay Country Club sold close to 200 memberships last year, and is currently selling memberships for 2023.

President and General Manager Joe Valente, who's been in communication with Di Gregorio, said it's reassuring to know the course will remain open for at least the next few years.

Valente fully expects the new owners will keep him apprised about their longer-range plans, but said he's going to "wait to see" rather than speculate on what they might turn out to be.

Developer Doug Coppin, who took over the condo project in 2017, declined to comment on the sale, citing a confidentiality agreement with Di Gregorio.

In 2018, it was expected that the development would be finished by 2021, but that didn't happen, and there was a new projection that construction above the foundation would resume no later than the spring of 2021 with an 18-to-24 month completion target.

"The cost to construct in the city has gone through the roof," Di Gregorio noted, speaking in general terms. "You may start a project, and the cost may look very reasonable, but when you actually go to do it, the costs are out of line and they don't make sense. We're finding that in a lot of projects now, where the costs are coming way over budget."

This is the second golf course acquisition the company has made in Thunder Bay.

In 2014, it purchased the Municipal Golf Course on Rosslyn Road from the City of Thunder Bay, the year after it was permanently closed by the city.

The plan to develop it as resort-style accommodation for short-to-medium-stay guests, and a seniors community with a three-hole golf course, has yet to be implemented.

Di Gregorio said the company needs approval from the province to change the property's current designated use as parkland, but to date has not received permission.

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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