Orillia selects developer to revamp waterfront, Front Street

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FRAM Building Group selected as preferred proponent for Waterfront Redevelopment Project

 

For immediate release (July 29, 2021) – The City of Orillia is pleased to announce FRAM Building Group (FRAM) as the preferred proponent who will redevelop the municipally-owned lands located at and around 70 Front St. N.

In accordance with Council direction and its approved negotiating framework, the City of Orillia entered into commercially confidential negotiations with FRAM and have signed an Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS) for the sale and redevelopment of the lands in accordance with the City’s Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

“I would like to thank all of the proponents for their interest in Orillia and the time they invested in preparing proposals,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “On behalf of Council, I would like to congratulate FRAM on being selected as the preferred proponent to redevelop the site. We look forward to working closely with FRAM as they progress through the development approval process for the revitalization of this brownfield site in the core of the city that links our beautiful waterfront to our heritage downtown. Welcome to the Sunshine City FRAM.”

Council endorsed FRAM as the preferred proponent at a Special Meeting of Council on May 19, 2021, and directed staff to assemble a negotiating team, with the assistance of third-party expertise. Following Council approval of the negotiating framework on June 15, the negotiating team successfully negotiated the APS, which is set for commercial close following a due diligence period.

“FRAM is a highly-regarded and experienced developer, well known for its success in municipal partnerships and sustainable development. The Waterfront Working Group is pleased with the outcome of the negotiations and looks forward to having FRAM as a partner in the City’s downtown waterfront revitalization efforts," said Coun. Tim Lauer, Chair of the Waterfront Working Group. “The City and FRAM will continue to refine the development concepts as presented through the RFP public consultation phase through the Site Plan Approval process. We will also work together towards common project aspirations such as recognition for revitalization of a large brownfield in the City’s core, design excellence, and co-marketing of Orillia as a community of choice.”

The design concept as submitted by FRAM consists of a mixed-used development which includes waterfront townhomes, an eight-storey condo building at the corner of Coldwater and Front Street, a variety of commercial space, green building practices, pedestrian linkages and more. Their concept will be further developed and refined through Site Plan Approval, community engagement and ongoing collaboration with the City.

FRAM is known for its innovation, quality and community building initiatives. Their mandate is to design, develop and build sustainable communities where people ultimately want to live, work and play. Through the years FRAM has proven to be successful in developing a variety of residential mixed-use and commercial property across the Greater Toronto Area, Southern Ontario, Alberta and select markets in the U.S. FRAM has been recognized for innovative designs, particularly focused on energy efficiency and environmental sustainability through brownfield redevelopment projects such as its multi-award winning project of the Port Credit Village in Mississauga, as well as the Shipyards Waterfront in Downtown Collingwood.

“Orillia’s Waterfront Redevelopment is a very exciting project to be a part of and we are thrilled to have been selected as the preferred proponent,” said Fred Serrafero, FRAM’s Senior Vice President and one of the firm’s Principals. “We look forward to working with the City of Orillia to bring our concept into focus and develop the site in a manner that will revitalize a former brownfield into a vibrant part of the downtown waterfront community.” 

The City of Orillia purchased 70 Front Street North in 2016 in order to extend Coldwater Street to the waterfront, while also facilitating a redevelopment of the southern portion of the property. The property, combined with surrounding municipally owned lands, have been underutilized and were identified as a strategic opportunity for redevelopment through the Downtown Tomorrow Plan.

In order to facilitate redevelopment of the lands, much of which will require environmental remediation, the City had to first “de-risk” the site to make it appealing to developers. This included the expropriation of lease rights which restricted development, preparing the lands through pre-zoning, and the forthcoming demolition of the southern portion of the plaza.

The City of Orillia released its RFP for the approximately 8.6 acres to a short list of pre-qualified proponents in December 2020.

The sale of the property to FRAM requires the enactment of a confirmatory bylaw at the Special Meeting of Council on July 30, 2021.

For more information and to sign up for updates, visit the project webpage at orillia.ca/waterfront.