The Metalworks® - The Metalworks® featured in "The Livable City" magazine - The Metal Works

February 29, 2016

The Metalworks® featured in “The Livable City” magazine

‘Game Changer’: How Fusion Homes’ The Metalworks® is Channeling Guelph’s Past To Build a More Livable Future.

by Chris Tiessen; photography by; spread by Cai Sepulis

(This article is to be published in print in the upcoming ‘The Livable City’ magazine, a publication of The Guelph Chamber of Commerce.)

When Fusion Homes’ Lee Piccoli first stepped foot on the eight empty acres at 5 Arthur Street several years back and gazed across the desolate landscape that lay sprawled out before him, his focus didn’t come to rest on the rubble all around him — evidence of what had once been a sprawling factory and, before that, industry that spanned back into history for almost two centuries. It didn’t settle on the tangles of cement and rebar strewn across the site. And it certainly did not fall on the grey mountains of drab concrete that stretched onward across the site.

Instead, Lee’s focus locked firmly on something far less tangible yet altogether more inspired; namely, our community’s shared future — and its storied past. A vision of an iconic community, named The Metalworks®, to be nestled between Guelph’s resurgent downtown and ‘The Ward’ — its most fabled and mythologized neighbourhood.

Built brick by very old brick.

Fusion Homes’ Lee Piccoli — with a vision of his vision

‘When we began conceiving The Metalworks®,’ reminisces Lee, ‘we knew immediately that it had to be special. There were so many things going for it: the site’s location in the heart of the city; its incredible historical significance that dates back to our city’s first years — as mill, distillery, foundry, machine shop, factory; its unique ability to profoundly change the personality not only of our city’s core but of the broader community. I think we’re getting it right.’

Screen grab of how this article will look in print. Photo by; illustration by #printisnotdead

And not by coincidence. Indeed, the Fusion team has dedicated so much time consulting and collaborating with city officials, local businesses and, perhaps most meaningfully, ‘Ward’ residents to ensure that everything from design to accessibility to parking to community integration — all issues of ‘livability’ — has been dealt with appropriately. It’s no wonder that The Metalworks® received Ontario’s High-Rise Project of the Year in 2015, awarded by the Ontario Home Builders’ Association. Or that Fusion Homes are recipients of a record six coveted Tarion Awards of Excellence which recognize Ontario new home builders based solely on customer satisfaction.

As Mayor Cam Guthrie noted of The Metalworks® last September: ‘This development will make a huge positive contribution to the life of our city.’

Indeed, it will introduce hundreds more people to downtown living — which will, in turn, further activate the downtown’s recent renaissance as The Metalworks® residents eat, shop and enjoy themselves in the city’s core. It will also offer a fifty-foot-wide urban river walk along the Speed River; 2.5 acres of open space; a heritage building that’s to be restored to its original glory; and a planned 30,000-square feet of restaurants and retail to be integrated into The Metalworks™ community. (As a ‘Ward’ resident myself who lives just down the street from The Metalworks® site, I can’t begin to describe my excitement for this community to be completed.)

‘When I think about what The Metalworks® means for this city,’ states Lee, ‘I think about more than just the people who are going to visit and interact with the finished product.

‘I think about the life moments and the milestones that are going to be achieved on this site.’

Telling remarks, indeed, as they point to a core value that’s rigorously instilled in all Fusion Homes employees: that of a genuine care for the future health and happiness of Fusion customers.

As Lee notes: ‘We’re constantly reminding our team that every decision we make will have a direct effect on those individuals or families who will call one of our communities home.’ He concludes: ‘As long as we keep our customers’ wellbeing top of mind, and as long as we keep those communities in which we decide to build top of mind, I am certain we will continue to succeed as a homebuilder — and as a community builder too.’

(Fusion Homes is currently building six new communities in Guelph — including Chillico Run on the West End, Natura on the East, River’s Edge to the North and Solterra and Enclave at Pergola in the South.)

The site at 5 Arthur Street could have gone in any number of directions. I know that I, at least — as well as many others who cherish this livable city we call home — owe a debt of gratitude to Lee, his vision, and his steadfast focus on our community’s shared future.

ShareShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter