Latest news and events at PBG Homes.

Anthony Continelli is going back to school.

The president of Premium Building Group has plans to transform the historic Glen Ridge School building in St. Catharines into a 10-unit condominium building with 10 adjacent townhouses that have a similar look to the school.

“We’re always up for a challenge,” said Continelli, whose family company in St. Catharines was started 45 years ago by his father Tony. “We’ve done so many infill sites and every infill is a challenge to us, but at the end of the day it’s very rewarding. We tend to finish them off to blend in and satisfy everyone.”

The South Drive school in Old Glenridge was closed in 2016, but a tour inside Thursday revealed traces of the former activity with maps and clocks still hanging in classrooms, a Canadian flag and even writing on a blackboard.

The plan, which still requires approval by city council, is to use the classrooms as the footprints for the units, which will range from 950 square feet to 1,200 square feet.

Continelli said they want to keep many elements inside the school intact, such as the school bell hanging in the front hall, original flooring in the entrance, bricked hallways with rounded corners and the wide staircase and railings.

A water fountain may even stay in place to keep the old school charm.

“It’s one of a kind,” his father Tony Continelli said inside the school building, where a second-floor library will become a common area for residents and high ceiling heights will be retained as much as possible.

The main 1928-era building will be preserved while an attached gymnasium added in the 1980s will be demolished for a new parking lot. No additions to the school are being proposed.

“It sits in a nice area of St. Catharines and it’s worth keeping it,” Tony said, explaining why he thought it was a good project. “I think the neighbours are pleased and it’s something you don’t find every day. It’s really unique.”

City council heard details this week about an application by PBG to amend the official plan and zoning by-law to permit the apartments in the school building.

The public meeting Monday didn’t draw any residents with concerns.

Council will receive a recommendation report from city staff to discuss at its next meeting on Sept. 24.

If approved, Anthony Continelli said they could start work as early as this fall.

The project to build 10 townhouses to the north and east of the school building was previously approved through the committee of adjustment.

Continelli said the townhouses will be very similar in architecture to the school with roof lines and exterior finishes that take on the same colour as the old building. He said he wants it to blend together so it looks like one development when driving around the side streets.

“The townhouses, we wanted to take on the historic look of the school,” he said. “From day one when we came out with the initial drawings, everyone was really favourable of the whole development.”

The District School Board of Niagara voted to close the school in February 2016 due to low enrolment. City council created a 101 South Drive Property Task Force two months later to come up with possible uses for the school and land.

The task force recommended the city turn a third of the property into a public park, which it is doing, and ensure the rest is used for a development that’s compatible with the existing neighbourhood.


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Premium Building Group collects over a quarter of the awards at this year’s Awards of Excellence event presented by the Niagara Home Builders’ Association.

The Awards of Excellence program recognizes innovation, creativity and excellence in the residential construction industry in the Niagara Region. Premium Building Group was awarded 5 first place awards in the 23 category program. Of the 23 categories, PBG entered 7 and was finalists in all 7 categories. PBG was recognized for Architectural Design and Room Design.

The awards received were:

Architectural Design

Most Outstanding Production Built Home (One Storey)
Recognizing the design of MODESTO

Most Outstanding Condo/Townhome over 1500 sq. ft.
Recognizing the design of RESERVE

Most Outstanding Custom  Home $500,000 – $750,000
Recognizing the design of MODIFIED HUSH

Room Design Awards

Most Outstanding New Home Kitchen – Production
Recognizing WINTER DUET

Most Outstanding New Home Bathroom – Custom
Recognizing SPA ESCAPE

Premium Building Group is proud to announce recognition from the Ontario Home Builders Association’s Awards of Distinction Program.  Ceremonies were held in Ottawa, Ontario on September 22, 2014.

PBG-Homes-Award-2014There are 39 categories in the 2014 OHBA Awards of Distinction program honouring innovation and excellence.  Premium Building Group was awarded the Most Outstanding Attached Multi-Unit Home (semi/town home/stacked) for the Winter Duet design, St. Catharines.

This semi-detached, two-storey, three-bedroom, 2.5 baths home was built for an empty-nester couple downsizing, but still wanting a stylish entertaining space. The result is an open-concept main floor featuring a kitchen with walkout to a covered composite deck, a formal dining and living room, as well as the master bedroom suite and laundry, and a great room with a second-storey window that conforms to the roofline, as well as a stone veneer wall and mantel over the fireplace.  The second floor includes two bedrooms, a full bath and loft.  The exterior features front entrance pillars and a faux balcony wrapped in copper accents with powder-coated steel railings.


Story  by Karena Walter – St. Catharines Standard

 “Shortage of developable land means balancing density with aesthetics.”

Anthony Continelli can hardly wait to dig his model home at his new condominium infilling project in Grantham.

He’s purchased three existing houses on Niagara Street, south of Scott, and plans to begin construction on 20 condominiums behind them next month.

Continelli has the drawings, a logo and marketing material in the works.  As well, he believes he has the neighbourhood’s interest at heart.

“We’ve really looked at the area and developed a marketable product that’s going to be appealing to the residents and appreciate the value of their property without over-appreciating at the same time,” Continelli said.

Maintaining neighbourhood aesthetics while increasing density with infilling is one of the city’s biggest challenges.

In Grantham – with the city’s least amount of vacant developable land – any future development means infilling.

It is estimated St. Cathirines will need 5,700 new dwelling units by 2026.  It currently has vacant developable land for 2,000 to 3,200 units.

St. Catharines planning manager Judy Pihach said the city has a fixed urban area boundary that makes available land a limited commodity. Developers are reconsidering parcels of land they used to think too small or irregular.

“All of a sudden, they become attractive because there’s not a whole lot left to pick from,” Pihach said.

Policy planner Bruce Bellows said the city doesn’t anticipate going into low-density neighbourhoods like Grantham and putting in high-density development.  What residents may see are individual property owners selling parts of their property.

“We’re not out to change the existing character of development but we want to squeeze a little more out of them if we can,” Bellows said.

That can be a bone of contention for neighbours.

Last year, 80 people in a neighbourhood off Vine Street signed a petition to stop an infilling project that saw the backyard of a bungalow split in tow and a new home built on the excess.

The committee of adjustment allowed the project at 540 Vine St., though it meant the existing bungalow’s backyard would become eight feet shorter than required by zoning standards because the side yard was bigger.  Neighbours were frustrated with the process.

“The question that remains is, why are the bylaws on the books if they seem to be able to be changed so arbitrarily,” said Kelly foster whose home backs onto the new lot.  “It seems these variances are granted without almost any thought.  It’s just a rubber stamp process and it’s disappointing.”

Foster said the infill changed the complexion of the neighbourhood, added to a congestion and is not as aesthetically pleasing as the former trees.

Over on Niagara Street, Continelli says his project has residents on-side.

He’s leaving the three houses up and is planning a landscaped development.

Continelli said he’s been able to do that in the past with his infilling project of eight single-family condos on an irregular lot at 27 Parnell Rd.

“Infill is trying to develop a product that blends within the community, rather than sticking in these items and saying, where did that come from?” he said. “We’re trying to harmonize the area together.”


Story  by MOLLY HARDING – St. Catharines Standard – Advertising Features Writer

People have become used to the terms EnerGuide and Energy Star. The terms denote a product has reached a very high level of energy efficiency and the rating can usually be seen on tags attached to things such as washing machines and other major appliances.

When the Energy Star rating has been applied to a house, however, it means the whole house meets Canada’s energy efficiency targets. And that’s why Premium Building Group (PBG) is getting lots of interest and acclaim for the small enclave of townhouses it’s installing on Niagara Street.

For ALL of these houses will be Energy Star rated. Not only will they be rated for energy efficiency, but will consequently be more cost efficient and more comfortable to live in.

Niagara’s new home builders are not sitting back and waiting for the 2010 target date Canada has set for this move to energy efficiency of new homes. PBG has already made the move and other Niagara builders are moving in the same direction. It’s nice to see they are taking the initiative well before the year they will have to meet this same Energy Star level of performance or the EnerGuide 80 rating.

The 20 PBG condominium town houses in the up-on-niagara complex will be built behind the company’s three detached houses on Niagara Street, which themselves meet the standard. The townhouses will incorporate recycled materials, on-demand German-designed hot water systems (so you’re not paying to heat water when you don’t need it), plastic ductwork for heating and cooling and insulation where you would not normally find it, such as the garage door.

Natural gas is the heating and cooking fuel, of course, which is both more energy efficient and less expensive than other fuels, and windows are all low-E argon filled. It’s interesting to note that Energy Star rated housing reduces greenhouse gas emissions by about three tonnes per year, while Canada’s goal is for every household to reduce by one tonne a year. By this early move to

Energy Star housing, Niagara’s new home builders are obviously on the right track.

In the model home, The SCOTT design, at 413 Niagara St., you can see many of the greener aspects of the up-on-niagara town houses, which will have both bungalows and two-storey homes.

The model home is a unique two-storey, with open concept main floor beyond the ceramic-floored foyer. At right is the kitchen, with designer-styled maple cabinetry, a gas stove and built-in dishwasher as well as a two-tier combination counter/breakfast bar. The laundry has a stacking washer/drier with gas fuelled drier. A pantry is located a little further on, before the room opens out to the living and dining areas.

Note the lovely soft-toned birch hardwood floors throughout most of the main floor, as well as the halogen pot-lights that are used everywhere.

A gas fireplace draws the eye in the living room. Angled across one corner, it makes excellent use of space and also provides for a mantelpiece big enough to accommodate a plasma television.

A deck is currently being built outside the garden door off the living room. Big windows in both living and dining rooms bring in lots of natural light.

The master bedroom is located on the main floor and has a big ensuite bathroom with one-piece Mirolin tub and shower enclosure. Moen pressure balance faucets are also energy efficient, and while you’re in there, take a look at the double crown mouldings in the bathroom! The same moulding is seen in the two-piece washroom on this floor. It’s unique touches such as this that have earned PBG its reputation for excellence. The nine-foot ceiling and two big double closets are bonuses in the bedroom.

On the wall outside the master bedroom is a neat control set-up for the main mechanics of the house, such as humidity level, fireplace and fan and timer. It also shows the heating and cooling of the house, so you can program time and day you want it turned on. The house is also pre-wired for a security system and has central air conditioning as standard features. There is also a rough-in for central vacuum.

The basement is ready to finish but is fully insulated and divided into what could be a home office or rec-room and another bedroom. The ceiling is 8.5 feet high and there’s a rough-in for another bathroom as well as another laundry. The concrete floor was saw-cut, so there are none of the usual hairline cracks. There’s a manifold system by the forced air gas furnace to allow easy access to gas valve connections for all gas appliances. And there’s that tiny control box for the on-demand hot water system – not a hot water tank in sight – so you only pay for the amount of water you heat and you will never run out of hot water!

Now look up into the ceiling and you will see the plastic waterline system. It’s quiet to run – virtually a silent system, with no clanking or banging. The floors are silent, too, as they are all screwed as well as nailed down. Another thing to check out is the sump pump, with its innards underground and so invisible — no unsightly pipes.

Now head upstairs and onto the second floor, where a sitting room is situated outside the two bedrooms. The bedrooms both have walk-in closets and ensuite access to the bathroom, though the toilet and bath have a privacy door, so the two washbasins can be used independently.

Another unique touch: Switches have been positioned beside the beds for easy control of bedside lamps and there’s wiring and control for a television.
PBG-Homes-EnergyEfficient-3 PBG-Homes-EnergyEfficient-2 PBG-Homes-EnergyEfficient-1


In March we’ll be breaking ground  for a special project in the north end of St. Catharines, says Premium Building Group’s Anthony Continelli.

“We’ve only just purchased the property just two months ago and we’ve already sold one of the houses!

“This project is pioneering the ideology of condominium-type lifestyle but in a single-family dwelling.  Tucked away on an interesting little cul-de-sac will be Spring Garden Creek Villas, eight luxury size family dwellings on a ravine setting,” says Continelli.

“This is a rare opportunity to own a 100% maintenance-free, fully landscaped house on your own lot.  For people who might be ready to go into a condo-lifestyle but not into a townhouse, this could be a foray into what that lifestyle might really be about.” he said.

“Full basement walk-outs to the creek, cathedral ceilings, high foyers, a lot of decorative work, built-in features and rough-in’s for gas appliances – all of the things you’d expect from a quality-committed new home builder, you’ll find here.

“We know we do things differently.  Our homebuyers are given their own key and  are encouraged to come to the construction site often to check out the progress of their home.  That usually blows people away!


By doing this together every step of the way, we’re able to modify or to make changes.  There’s an assurance, a certain confidence that the home is being better built.  We also have a screening system in place for any of the trades bidding on our projects that allows us to choose the best.  After all, we’re going to be right in there with the trades so no one can have anything to hide.  As a builder, we’re really down to earth – literally.” says Continelli.

“Any great accomplishment is really just a collection of smaller accomplishments.  On the surface, it may seem like a small thing, but we took the initiative to pursue the Gas Ready program,” he said.

“When you make a point of explaining the benefits of the program to the homeowner, you get a ‘wow’ reaction.  we have taken this initiative on behalf of our clients who’ll probably want additional gas appliances installed after they’ve moved in.  The Gas Ready program has given us a competitive edge.”

The Gas Ready program ensures that new homes are outfitted with properly sized gas supply lines that will accommodate additional natural gas appliances quickly, easily and cost-effectively.  Enbridge Consumers Gas’ joint venture with enthusiastic Gas Ready builders ensures homebuyers will enjoy energy savings, heightened comfort and convenience and ease of upgrading when the time comes.

“Actively involved in all we are and all we do, is my partner and my best friend, my dad Tony, whose been in the business for over 25-years.  I love the idea of creating something special and having fun doing it.  I guess you could say that all of this is just in my blood” says Continelli.

There’s a great deal of information available on this economical, energy-saving program and on the other Gas Ready builders who also pride themselves in their abilities to provide the many benefits of a natural gas lifestyle.  Why not take a moment now to visit or call our hotline at 1-888-GAS-8888?

Ontario’s leading energy supplier and the country’s largest natural gas distributor, Enbridge Consumers Gas is proud to serve approximately 1.5 million customers in central and eastern Ontario.  Premium Builders Group (PBG) is just one of the over 110 quality-committed Gas Ready builders located throughout Ontario.

Story  by: Tiffany Mayer  – Saturday June 23, 2007


Local News – Right now, it’s just a big, weedy pile of dirt.

But the mound of muck behind 409 Niagara St. will soon give way to what’s believed to be St. Catharines’ first Energy Star housing development.

Twenty townhouse condos will be constructed with recycled materials, on-demand hot water systems, windows coated to lower heat flow through glass, and insulation in places often overlooked in older homes, such as garage doors.

Inside, the appliances will be fuelled by natural gas.

By next fall, the homes will be filled with people living a more energy-efficient existence.

They’ll also be living a greener one, too.

An Energy Star home – which all homes built in Canada from 2010 must be – reduces greenhouse gas emissions by about three tonnes a year.  But that isn’t what appeals to the Energy Star house hunter, explained Orhan Kermin, a manager of Premium Building Group, the townhouse complex developer.

“People are always looking for ways to save on energy costs and as energy costs go up and up, you can’t really control that.  You can only control what you use,”Kermin said.

It’s the first such project for the company, which had a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site Friday morning.

In keeping with the environmentally friendly theme, the Up On Niagara complex is an infill development waling distance from amenities such as shopping and parks.

That means residents don’t have to rely too heavily on cars to get around.

Mayor Brian McMullan, who attended the ribbon-cutting, praised the development for adhering of Smart Growth principles.

Even though people in the market for an Energy Star house are motivated by the other green at the moment.  Premium president Anthony Continelli said consumers are thinking about the environment more and more when buying a home.

“It is something that is going to be more and more asked for by consumers.  We’re still at the early stages of it, ” Continelli said.  Ditto for the construction industry. With 2 1/2 years to go before the Energy Star guidelines become mandatory, those building homes are still adjusting.

That’s fine with Continelli, who is trying to keep his company ahead of the curve.

“It’s a pioneer thing,” he said about Up On Niagara.

“We are young. We are aggressive. We are out there and we want to be known as one of the leading advancements in the industry.”

Story  by Marlene Bergsma – St. Catharines Standard


 City doesn’t have the money for consultant’s study so property owners chip in to pay the $25,000 bill

Tax forgiveness being offered to St. Catharines developers is such a lucrative option that five property owners in the Oakdale neighbourhood are agreeing to pay $25,000 for the chance to be included in the incentive plan.

St. Catharines councillors agreed this week to add the Oakdale neighbourhood – between the CN railway line and Centennial Park – to the city’s Community Improvement Plan.  But before development incentives can be handed out, a planning study must be conducted, and there’s no money in the city budget to pay for it, said a report from the city planner Paul Chapman.
So the five property owners have chipped into pay the $25,000 consulting cost to hire Marshall, Macklin and Monaghan to do the study, said Chapman, and they’ve already written the cheque.

But some of the councillors objected to the accepting the money, saying it would end up costing the city more.
“Instead of a comprehensive plan, we are bending to the whim of a developer that comes along,” said Councillor Bruce Williamson.

Councillor Joe Kushner was also opposed, saying, “If we expand the program, we will have to expand the money.”
But Chapman said the only incentives that Oakdale property owners would be eligible for are a program known as a tax increment financing, where a portion of the increased property taxes faced by a redeveloped property are refunded according to a 10 year declining scale, starting at 90 per cent refund.

The program is meant to help compensate developers for increased costs they incur developing in troubled areas, Chapman told councillors.  And the Oakdale neighbourhood would have qualified for inclusion in the original Community Improvement Plan if the city had had enough money to pay for the study.

Councillor Charles Gervais also supported the plan, saying developers will take their business to other municipalities where there is more land and fewer obstacles.

“We have run out of nice green, developable land and our neighbours have not,” said Gervais, adding St. Catharines needs the incentives in order to compete.

“This is a win-win situation,” wrote Chapman in his report to the council.  “For the applicant, it provides the opportunity for an income flow after the construction of the project.  For the city, the program will encourage redevelopmentin an area where the city wants it, and also provide a steady stream of future (tax) revenue.  New housing will be provided to strengthen existing neighbourhoods.”

The five property owners who have contributed to the study costs are Anthony Continelli, Rob Baiocco, Venanzio Pinque, Tim Kenny and Phil Moore.

“The more residential development there is the more tax base there is for the city.” said Continelli, who owns two acres on Moffat Street.

“With the help of a program like this, it can entice developers like us to make it a go.”
Baiocco said the Moffat Street property he owns would be too expensive to develop without incentives.

The presence of Highway 406 and the CN track require noise and vibration studies and possible noise barriers, he said, which make development more costly.

“It would be virtually impossible for these developments to go forward without the incentives,” said Baiocco, whose land would have room for about 60 units.

Once they are built, “there is tax dollars flowing to the city,” he said.

West St. Catharines was also identified as an area that should be included in the Community Improvement Plan, Chapman wrote, but since there is no more money in the city budget to pay for a study, one will only be done if the property owners pay for it.

Story  by Matthew Van DongenSt. Catharines Standard

Anthony Continelli is part developer, part surgeon. His condo project, a conversion of the old Red Cross building on Merritt Street, is part of a dramatic facelift for Merritton. The abandoned building will change into 27 units in a three-storey complex overlooking the city from on top of the escarpment. Derelict commercial and industrial buildings all over the community are getting similar makeovers. The operations can be expensive – but the city is giving developers like Continelli cash incentives to pull out the scalpel.

These include tax incentives and construction and facade improvement grants in the tens of thousands of dollars.

“It definitely helped me make my decision to go ahead,” said Continelli, who wants seniors and empty-nesters to begin moving into the condos next fall.

“And it definitely entices the neighbours to improve their own properties, too.”

The Community Improvement Plan was introduced in 2004 to help revitalize abandoned properties in the downtown, Queenston/Hartzel Road area and Merritton.

It was a slam dunk with developers – but not necessarily with city councillors.  Last year, council came close to slashing the $500,000 program’s budget by half.

One councillor introduced a motion to scrap the incentives program altogether, arguing taxpayers shouldn’t pay to pad developers pockets.

This years council ignored a staff recommendation to boost the budget.  After the Nov. 13 election, Continelli hopes a new council will see things differently – program funding is up for review again next year.

“It’s not just one party that benefits,” he said. “The city benefits too.  The residents who move in benefit.  The neighbours benefit when their property values increase.” Under the CIP, as Continelli’s property tax assessment climbs, the city will refund him a portion of the increase over several years.The refund will help offset construction costs and make condo prices “more reasonable,” Continelli said.

The program has kick-started 82 residential units in Merritton in the last two years, said city planner Paul Chapman. Would developers be so willing to take a risk without the program? “I don’t think so,” Continelli said. Harry Ganatra agrees.

“It would been very difficult for me to go ahead, otherwise,” said Ganatra, who plans to turn an old packing plant  on Canterbury Drive into 64 new residential units. As a taxpayer, Merritton resident Bob Flynn is willing to pay for that growth – as long as councillors make good planning a priority. “The face of Merritton is going to change radically.  We all know it,” said the local Lions Club president.

“You’re either going to build in west St. Catharines or you’re going to rebuild Merritton.”

Using incentives to promote development is fine, said Flynn, But development can’t come at the expense of Merritton’s unique identity.

Aspiring councillors forget that at their peril, he said.

“You talk to almost anyone who lives here, they’re Merrittonians first,” he said. That’s why Flynn likes the CIP’s potential for restoring or reusing old buildings.

“New construction is inevitable, but you have to maintain the flavour of the past.” he said.