Expanding and renovating Sudbury’s Amberwood Suites Retirement Residence

amberwood sudbury

Owner designs and manages $15-million project

Northern Ontario Construction News staff writer

Sudbury’s Autumnwood Mature Lifestyle Communities is co-ordinating a $15 million expansion and renovation of Amberwood Suites Retirement Residence (the Breezes), in the community’s south end.

            The Amberwood community is growing from 34 suites to 95, with an expansion of the existing Breezewood retirement suites by 55,000 sq. ft, bringing the newly-named Amberwood Suites to 75,000 sq. ft..

            Autumwood president Joe DiPietro says, despite several starts and stops since construction began in the fall of 2010, the project has reached the stage where existing Breezes residents can move to their new suites. Renovations on the Breezes can then start, and all work should be completed in a timely manner.

            DiPietro says the old structure will be gutted and the exterior concrete shell will undergo interior and exterior retrofitting including new windows and roofing. The original building will be covered with the same cultured stone and stucco cladding as the new structure.

            “The entire building – new and old – will incorporate standard energy efficiencies for LEED sustainability, without going through the certification process,” he said.

            The new complex features a mix of bachelor, one and two bedroom suites.  All suites are carpet-free, include kitchenettes and barrier-free bathrooms, allowing residents to age in place.

            Significant shared amenity space includes an elegant dining area, centralized kitchen, luxurious lounge areas, private dining room, sun room, pub, games room, hair salon and administrative space.  Several breakfast nooks and complementary laundry areas complete the offerings.

            Autumwood acquired land to expand Amberwood over the last decade and additional future acquisitions will allow the community to expand its green space as older adjacent homes come up for sale. Centrally located near the corner of Regent and Bouchard streets, DiPietro says this south end location is desirable for its easy access and proximity to amenities.

            Through a vertically integrated process, Autumnwood conceived the design, developed the project as its own general contractor, and has financed and operates the community.  However, the owner has connected with local trades to do much of the work.

            Sunwire Inc. is one of those trades. Sales manager Rock Palmer says his company provided the new community’s phone system through a solution fulfilling current and future needs. “We installed our SolSwitch system, which, developed three years ago, is both scalable and programmable.”

            Palmer says the system handles internal calls and has the potential to bring more sites online. Programmability makes the phone smarter with features like ‘find me’ and enhanced security options. “The SolSwitch system uses far less space than a legacy system and has a longer overall life cycle because clients can continue to add to it, rather than changing equipment as their needs grow.”

            Palmer says Sunwire has deployed the SolSwitch in many businesses in different industries. “We’ve installed this system for call centres, professional offices, manufacturers and transportation companies, he said.   “Some of our local installations include: Northern911, Paul Ayotte Insurance Brokers Ltd., LVP Chartered Accountants and Consultants and Royal LePage. These and Autumnwood are all very different companies with different needs but they all are served well by the flexibility of the SolSwitch system.”

            Meanwhile, Folino Cement and Tile president John Folino says he is placed to have been part of the Autumwood team at Amberwood.  “We have been in the concrete, tile and terrazzo business in Sudbury for more than 30 years,” he said.  “Our role in the project included the cement work and all of the interior tile in the building.  It was a great project to work on and a wonderful facility for our community.”


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