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Major redevelopment of Wasaga Beach unveiled

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A years-long reimagining of Wasaga Beach's iconic waterfront is coming to fruition, with the plans unveiled to the public Thursday evening.

In front of hundreds of people, Wasaga Beach Mayor Brian Smith unveiled the project's designs alongside project lead FRAM Building Group and Sunray Group of Hotels, the newest partner to the multi-million dollar project.

"I'm happy and proud to say that we're actually there, and we're going to get it started, and I believe we'll see it through to fruition," Smith said to CTV News. "I was born and raised here, and I've seen it in its heyday, and I've seen it at its worst, and we're back on our way up to the top."

The plan is to bring nearly 500 new housing units to market along the waterfront, in sizes ranging from 600 sq. ft. to 2000 sq. ft., as the development is meant to target multiple demographics.

Along with the new residential component, there will be many new commercial shops and restaurants, along with a 150-room boutique hotel.

"We are looking at the restaurants on the on the main level, so you can just walk in from the boardwalk into the restaurants in and out," said Amir Fatemi of Sunray Group of Hotels. "We have a public square that is a collaboration with the city and ourselves and so there will be concerts, events happening."

FRAM Building Group is spearheading the project. After first pitching their vision to council approximately six years ago, a previous term decided to move in another direction and sought a new developer.

However, this current council welcomed FRAM Building Group back to the table, using most of their ideas, which were first brought forward more than half a decade ago.

"Our architecture is something that harkens back to what people think that Wasaga Beach could have looked like, you know, 50, 60 years ago," said FRAM Building Group president Frank Giannone. "What we'll be doing is very low rise in this form, easy to access the ground level, put people on the street."

The developer already has a footprint in Simcoe County, with existing projects in Collingwood and Orillia.

"We're trying to make that fine balance between that person that lives here already, the people that we're going to be bringing into the community and the people that are using it more as a tourist destination," Giannone said.

When you consider major recent projects, including the town's casino, upwards of 900 jobs will be brought to the community with the addition of this project.

"We're going to see a lot of new commercial mom and pop, smaller shops and boutiques as well as of course, a hotel, which we've needed for a long, long time," said Mayor Smith.

According to the mayor, the project will start in Spring 2025 by demolishing many buildings along Beach Drive from Main Street to Third Street. The goal is to have shovels in the ground by Summer 2025.

"What council really focused on, along with our partners in Fram and Sunray, was creating or recreating a beach front that was affordable, sustainable and that would have longevity."

With files from CTV's Mike Lang.

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