The "165 Ontario Street" address first appeared in St. Catharines Ontario's municipal registries in 1965. Originally named "Lucerne Apartments" this building is home to about 300 people in 157 units.
When first built, this was a moderately luxurious building with larger than average apartments. The building's skin was ivory coloured glazed brick. The lobby was furnished with couches and a waterfall aquarium that was home to half a dozen huge gold fish. There was music in the elevators and a small office where you could connect with the superintendent and maintenance man who both lived in the building.
For reasons unknown, the building was allowed to deteriorate somewhat and by the time I moved in on July 2, 1984 it was in a medium-ish state of disrepair. The hallways were clean but the carpets, doors and walls were showing signs of wear. The apartments themselves were in a general state of good repair. Everything worked well enough but the walls needed a good coat of paint and mine, at least, needed floor refinishing.
At that time the building was home to a surprising number of long term residents, a couple of whom were the first renters of their units. Others had already been here for 10 and 15 years. There was a sense of community in the building as we all got to know one another and always greeted one another in the halls. It wasn't uncommon for groups of us to congregate on the front steps during nice weather and have some truly fun conversations.
Sadly, in it's somewhat run-down state the building had started to attract a class of tenants who were less than fully invested in having a nice home and tended to cause problems with noise, loud parties and such. But overall, it was still an okay place to live.
In the late-1990s, by municipal orders, the building was placed under control of a management company who were commissioned to restore the building into a better state of repair. These extensive "top down" renovations took over a year to complete. The result was a very nice 1960s-chique building that was almost empty as people moved out to escape the noise and disruptions.
Once fully renovated, the building was turned over to a second management company who took on the task of re-renting the, now, nearly empty building. After causing considerable chaos with a revolving door of rentals and evictions (both of which they got commissions for) the management contract finally expired and control reverted to the original owners, A&L Investments.
Most buildings get this kind of major renovation once in their lifetimes. The original decor stood for 35 years without major issues. There seemed little reason to think the new renovations, completed in 2000, would be any less durable so life went back to normal.
This, however, was not to last. In 2007 A&L Investments sold the building to TransGlobe Property Management who immediately launched into a huge round of renovations. From there it went to TransGlobe REIT in 2010, Starlight in 2012, then Northview REIT in 2016 and finally to CLV Group, our current landlord, in 2021. Each bringing their own cluster of largely unnecessary renovations and changes; followed by rent increases, of course.
By 2013 the building had been completely transformed both inside and out. The outer skin was now painted two-tone brown, the balconies were replaced with tinted glass, the lobby and hallways were redone repeatedly and the interiors of the apartments had been completely redesigned more than once.
But it didn't end there. As a result of the constant buy-fix-sell cycle, this building has now been 14 years in near continuous renovations that are ongoing as I write this.