Ontario Construction News staff writer
Geranium Corp. is planning to build a luxury hotel in the Town of Innisfil’s lakefront Friday Harbour Resort – the first hotel in the municipality.
And that’s not all. There are also plans for a 17,000 sq.-ft. development that includes new retail space along the village boardwalk.
Innisfil council approved an amendment to the Big Bay Point Resort Secondary Plan and zoning bylaw to allow the new development and removed occupancy limit restrictions at the resort allowing owners to live their 365 days a year.
“Based on this review, it is recognized that the Friday Harbour Resort currently provides a significant positive impact on the local economy. It is not anticipated that a change in occupancy would negatively impact the positive economic contributions that are currently generated by Friday Harbour, and will continue to be generated in the future,” Mary Nordstrom, manager of land use planning wrote in her report to council recommending approval.
The next phase of development will bring a host of new retailers . . . to fill out the west end,” Cheryl Shindruk, Geranium’s executive vice-president said in a virtual presentation to Innisfil council recently.
Construction of the Lake Club for members is already underway and is expected to open early next year. The facility will add an outdoor pool and hot tub, games room and fitness centre.
Overlooking the marina on Lake Simcoe, the facility will be two floors with a business centre.
Friday Harbour has more than 700 resort units, an 800-space underground parking facility, a boardwalk, pier and when the new development is complete there will be over 60,000 square feet of retail space.
Steven Rhys, executive vice-president of FORREC Ltd., told council that an amenities and entertainment study set priorities – planning a hotel, designing an iconic structure for the pier, and enhancements to public spaces.
FORREC suggests a location on the east side of the boardwalk where an amphitheatre was planned for the hotel – to give it more prominence.
“In our view, the best thing for animating the resort in that area is not to put a hotel in behind the Lake Club, but to have a hotel prominently positioned on the boardwalk. When a overnight guest comes to stay at Friday Harbour, they are in Friday Harbour … not on the edge.”
He described it as a dynamic hotel that has a strong connection to the lake and will drive more and more guests to the resort.