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Shovels ready for waterfront Sunshine Harbour development

First 24 of FRAM + Slokker's waterfront townhouse development set to begin construction this summer

Developers are nearly ready to begin work on the first phase of a large development near Orillia's waterfront.

FRAM + Slokker's plans for an eight-storey, mixed-use building and townhouse development at 70 Front St. N. have been in the works for the past few years, and developers are nearing the final hurdles required to begin construction on the first phase of new homes.

In March, city council passed a bylaw lifting a holding provision on 70 Front St. N., bringing FRAM + Slokker one step closer to beginning development on the first 24 townhouses in the area.

The project is broken down into four phases, as follows:

  • The north block, consisting of 24 three-storey townhomes with an internal street and parking area;
  • The central block, consisting of 15 townhomes with an internal street and parking area;
  • The south block, consisting of 25 townhomes;
  • The south building block, consisting of an eight-storey, mixed-use building with 97 residential units, four live-work units, and ground-level retail space.

For the north block phase, developers are now simply awaiting a development agreement and building permits, with shovels expected to hit the ground for municipal site servicing in May and construction expected to begin this summer.

Public interest in the new properties has been good so far, developers said.

"(This) phase is the one we opened for sale last year, with 24 condominium townhomes, and we're 70 per cent sold," said FRAM + Slokker principal Fred Serrafero. "That's going to start construction in the summertime — late June, early July."

Serrafero said he expects a 10- to 12-month timeline for the first phase of the project, and he anticipates releasing an additional 15 townhomes for sale as part of the project's next phase.

"We're confident we'll sell those, and next spring we start the next phase, and then we just roll into the next," he said.

Developers needed to complete environmental investigation and remediation work, a record of site condition, and more as part of the approval process for the first phase of homes, which city staff say will also be required for subsequent phases.

“A similar process will be required for the central and south blocks,” said Jeff Duggan, the city's senior planner. “A similar approvals process will be required to that of the north block, with a construction start anticipated for the central block in the fall of 2024 and the south block in 2025.”

A construction timeline for the eight-storey south building block has yet to be determined, Duggan said.

Mayor Don McIsaac said the development will bring far more to the waterfront area than new housing development.

“This development isn't just about construction; it's about the remediation and redevelopment of a brownfield site right in our downtown, connecting the downtown to our waterfront, expanding the tax base and helping to alleviate the overall tax burden on our residents. It is also creating more housing close to downtown, which is very important to me as we need more housing,” Mayor Don McIsaac said in a statement to OrilliaMatters.

“The hope is that this will result in more people shopping, dining, and visiting the area, sparking further growth and enhancing the overall community and vibrant downtown core.”

Although the broader waterfront redevelopment project began with the previous term of council, McIsaac said he is excited to see the Sunshine Harbour development begin.

“It is significant to see the Sunshine Harbour development project progressing,” he said. 

“The goal of the waterfront redevelopment project was to facilitate development that matches and enhances Orillia’s unique character and is based on development principles that were guided by the community through public engagement. This is still the goal and something that I am excited to see come to fruition.”


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Greg McGrath-Goudie

About the Author: Greg McGrath-Goudie

Greg has been with Village Media since 2021, where he has worked as an LJI reporter for CollingwoodToday, and now as a city hall/general assignment reporter for OrilliaMatters
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