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New hotel coming to Fort Frances

By Randy Thoms Oct 23, 2023 | 6:12 PM

(l-r) Ben Cohen, Chief Executive Officer, Woodmere Developments; Dan Degagne, GOBE Corporation; Chief Janice Henderson, Mitaanjigamiing First Nation; and Mayor Andrew Hallikas, Town of Fort Frances gather for an official groundbreaking of the new Studio 6 Extended Stay Suites and Hotel, October 23, 2023. Image: Randy Thoms/Acadia Broadcasting

Construction of a new motel in Fort Frances could start before the new year.

The 70-unit Studio 6 Extended Stay Suites and Hotel is a project of Mitaanjigamiing First Nation and its economic development arm, GOBE Corporation.

Officials gathered on Monday for an official groundbreaking ceremony on land located next to Canadian Tire.

The band acquired the land last year.

Chief Janice Henderson is excited about what it will bring to her community.

“This project is important to our community because it’ll provide economic opportunity opportunities, and also opportunities for training because this is a new area, new field for us. I’m sure we’re going to have to get higher management from the outside, but we’d like to have people from our community certainly be able to participate in the growth and development of the whole project,” says Chief Henderson.

Site of new Studio 6 Extended Stay Suites and Hotel. Image: Randy Thoms/Acadia Broadcasting

Ben Cohen of Woodmere Developments says it was decided to start with the hotel because of the demand for short-term accommodations in the area.

“My recommendation to chief and counsel was let’s have a one-track mind. We don’t want to get distracted with a possibility of a restaurant or a gas station, even though they may have merit. But we need a one-track mind. Let’s build a hotel,” says Cohen.

The community is funding the project from recent land and flooding claims settlement.

Cohen says tenders for the project have come in within the budget approved by the band council.

The hotel will take up about 33,700 square feet and consist of three floors.

Each room will have a variety of amenities for people staying one night or longer.

Cohen says surveyors will be on site shortly to stake out the building’s footprint.

“We’ve now completed all the engineering work. We have all the civil engineering work done. We have the structural engineering work done. We have the mechanical and electrical work done, and we’re about one to two more days to have a complete architectural plan signed and sealed by the architect,” says Cohen.

The project needs final approval from the town before construction begins.