Lowertown landlord Lauzon gets committee nod for rezoning

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The owner of several derelict properties targeted by Mayor Jim Watson earlier this year has received the backing of a city committee to attract new commercial tenants to a Lowertown property.

The Claude Lauzon Group is now one step closer to being able to implement its plans for a two-storey building at 143 Murray Street.

The firm wants to add a restaurant to the main floor of the building, according to a development application filed with the city, while keeping residential space above.

Councillors on the city’s planning committee voted Tuesday to rezone the land to make way for commercial space on the building’s first floor. The application will next go to a full meeting of city council for final approval later this monthWhat happens to the building after that is another question. Mr. Lauzon owns dozens of properties in the area, many of which have remained vacant for years as they were allowed to fall into disrepair.

He has brought forward several applications to the city in past years but never actually followed through with implementing many of the changes he proposed.

Lise Lauzon of the Claude Lauzon Group said they already have a tenant who plans to take over the restaurant part of the space. She declined to say who it is because the rezoning has not yet been totally approved.

The firm plans to renovate the building to make it attractive to the new tenant, she said. She wouldn’t yet say how much the company plans to spend.

The firm’s approach to his private property hasn’t sat well with Mayor Jim Watson. He and several city councillors held a press conference in March, where they referenced Claude Lauzon specifically, to announce they were going to target landlords of derelict buildings.