Big plans and new look coming to Orillia
Orillia's waterfront is the jewel in the city's crown. Plans to connect it with the downtown has even visitors talking about the potential.
On Monday, Mark Locke took a walk along the waterfront with his daughter and believes incorporating both residential and business would be a good idea.
"It worked in Toronto. It could work here really well," said Mark Locke.
The city has selected Fram Building Group as the preferred proponent of a giant redevelopment next to the Metro supermarket on Front St. North.
"It's an exciting project for us absolutely; it's a part of rehabilitation and revitalizing the downtown," said Fred Serrafero, the senior Vice President for Fram Building Group.
The plan includes about 160 residential homes with an eight-story condominium and approximately 10,000 sq feet of commercial retail space. It will also connect Coldwater street to Centennial Drive.
"This is going to allow more people to access the waterfront and improve the views to the water. You have to design a place that fits in with the rest of the downtown," said Serrafero.
According to Steve Clarke, the mayor of Orillia, several years ago Council purchased the property to have a say on what kind of development takes place.
"The development we wanted, to make sure that it would match the character that is Orillia or enhance it, and that's exactly what this will do," said mayor Clarke.
Many businesses that line the downtown are excited about what the project will bring.
"Connecting the waterfront to the downtown, opening it up allows people to walk right through and enjoy coming to the downtown area," said Natasha McDonald of The Kitchen Shop.
The sale of the land to the developer should be finalized by the end of the year. The mayor is hoping to see construction start sometime next year.