A historic piece of downtown is changing hands again.
The Edgewater Hotel will join Northern Vision Development’s growing collection of Whitehorse properties, the company announced Tuesday.
Northern Vision CEO Rich Thompson said he’s had its eye on the Edgewater for years.
“We bid for it back in 2008 when the old owners put it up for bid. When the Stokes family was passing it on, we took a run at it but we were unsuccessful at that time. This was the first opportunity since then, and we jumped at it,” Thompson said.
Wendy Taylor, one of the current owners, said that selling the hotel is in the best interest of the building and staff.
Taylor and her partners – Tina Woodland and Hugh Kitchen – have their hands full. Woodland and Taylor are partners in the local Ford dealership where Woodland is the general manager. Taylor is also heavily involved with Alcan Air. She said the trio decided they were spreading themselves too thin.
“(Northern Vision’s) focus is primarily on the hotel industry, and they would have the opportunity to take it to the places we’d like to go, but are unable to because of our other commitments,” she said.
Thompson doesn’t expect much to change at the Edgewater in the immediate future. He plans to start upgrading the restaurant and bar in the fall or winter.
“The next step will be to rejuvenate the food and beverage products. We’ll be doing everything we can to get that back up to its former glory,” Thompson said.
The Edgewater joins the Best Western Gold Rush and the Coast High Country Inn in Northern Vision’s stable of hotels. Thompson said he hopes the company will have as much success with their new property as they have with the other two.
“We’ve enjoyed great growth in both those properties – in particular in the Best Western – with respect to growing both occupancy and average daily rates,” he said.
The Coast High Country Inn hasn’t had quite as big a leap in success since Northern Vision took it over because, Thompson said, it was already well-run when they acquired it, so there wasn’t as much work to do.
Northern Vision’s approach to the Edgewater will be the same as with the Gold Rush and High Country, said Thompson. Instead of cleaning house, they plan to keep as many of the current staff as they can because those people know the Edgewater’s ins and outs better than anyone.
Northern Vision also owns the old Canadian Tire property at the bottom of Two Mile Hill. That building has sat empty since Canadian Tire moved to its new location, but Thompson said plans are well underway to turn it into a rejuvenated strip mall.
“We’re in the midst of putting a tender out on that for construction of landlord and tenant work, and we’re in the final throes of signing leases for new tenants,” Thompson said.
The property will feature between five and eight businesses, and office space in the back. There won’t be an indoor atrium, but the mall will have businesses that face Fourth and Ogilvie streets.
Thompson couldn’t say exactly what the new stores would sell, because the lease agreements are not finalized.
But he does know what they can’t sell: when Canadian Tire sold the building, they put caveats on the property preventing any new tenants from selling anything that could compete with Canadian Tire products. The property also can’t house a grocery store that would compete with either the Superstore or Extra Foods.
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