Homes By DeSantis Announces Partnership with Gillian’s Place to bring services to Grimsby


December 18, 2019

Grimsby ON – Prominent local community builder Homes by DeSantis has announced the recent agreement with Gillian’s place to bring service to Grimsby on the site of their proposed development on the corner of Nelles Road and 133 Main Street East. The lands currently support a dwelling, the James Willison Grout Nelles House built in 1865 that has been designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. Sadly the home has been vacant for decades and was slowly deteriorating due to neglect by previous owners and acts of vandalism. Homes By DeSantis upon purchasing the property; immediately cleared overgrown vegetation, re-established proper grading, removed debris and properly secured and mothballed the home to ensure no further degradation. It is in this Heritage home wherein the entire main floor will be donated by DeSantis to Gillian’s Place in the hopes to extend their services to the Town of Grimsby.

As one of Ontario’s first shelters for abused women and children, Gillian’s Place has been providing safe refuge and non-residential programs that enable women and their children to break the cycle of violence for over 40 years. This specific building would be considered an outreach facility for education and community engagement. Further the second floor hopes to house a complementary service to Gillian’s Place.

At the initial public open house in October 2019 the developer heard feedback that it was preferable the heritage home remain in its existing location. The new application presented in December proposes exactly this with the new midrise condominium placed to ensure prominence of the historic house.  The plan includes a complete restoration of the Queen Anne style façade in accordance with the standards and guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada and the remodelling of the interior to suit the purposes of Gillian’s Place and future community service. In addition to this, the creation of a new neighbourhood park fronting Main Street will be developed on the on the South West corner in front of the restored home. A public art piece commemorating the bountiful fruit farming legacy centered on the home is proposed as a focal point for this park, and would be commissioned by Homes by DeSantis as part of their ongoing commitment to incorporating art into their new communities.

Quick Facts
The Development Concept includes:

  • Retain Heritage Beech Tree and Relocate/Repurpose James Willison Grout Nelles House for Gillian’s Place outreach centre
  • 4 Storey Midrise Condo building with Main Street commercial uses
  • Building to contain: Approximately 137 Residential units with a mix of 1 and 2 bedroom designs, geared to first time buyers and empty nesters
  • 3 new commercial units available for lease in addition to the restored Heritage Home, targeted to businesses complementary to the new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital
  • New building will be designed to be compatible with heritage character

Gabriel DeSantis
President Homes by DeSantis

“As Grimsby grows so too does the need for enhanced social services. Many of the important local not-for-profits have felt the strain of recent government budget cuts. In this development we had a unique outlook, it challenged us to think outside the box.  Retaining the heritage home, enhancing the commercial vibrancy of Main Street near the proposed new Hospital and providing an opportunity for a deserving agency such as Gillian’s place. Allowing them to have a safe, new building to expand their services in Grimsby.”

Tanja Loeb
Executive Director at Gillian’s Place

“Homes by DeSantis has been a wonderful support of Gillian’s Place for some time and we are grateful to be a recipient of their generous philanthropy.  At our service location in Beamsville, we are seeing an increasing number of women and children who need our support throughout all of West Niagara and, more than ever, there is a need to collaborate creatively with our communities in order to meet the demand. We are excited about the opportunity to expand our services to Grimsby, and to work with other local service providers to ensure that women and children who’ve experienced abuse are able to access appropriate, impactful services where and when they need them.”