Hotel renovations continue

·3 min read

THUNDER BAY, ONT. — Eight months into the extensive overhaul of the Shoreline Hotel, Beacon Restaurant and Pier 61 bar, owner Haseeb Mushtaq’s construction crews face another four to five months of construction thanks to delays caused by supply chain and worker shortages.

Otherwise, everything is going according to plan, says Mushtaq, who is frustrated with what he calls manufacturing delays.

“Let’s say we have to order a heating unit,” he said. “Usually it comes in two months. Now it comes in four months. The supply of the material delayed us, otherwise we’d have finished in eight months. Now we’ll finish it in 13 months.”

The wait is expected to be well worth it.

Mushtaq says the old facade is sound and still in place but everything from windows and doors to flooring and walls has been replaced and reconstructed with new furniture. He says they inherited the hotel and all of its problems too.

“There has been a lot of effort by our team to get it up to level because the hotel wasn’t maintained very well,” he said. “Now it’s a new look. It’s a boutique hotel. It’s a different kind of feel. It’s a different (Aiden Best Western Hotel) theme and when you enter a room, you’ll know it’s different.”

Typically a “boutique hotel” is located in a city centre or trendy area where there is a main shopping area. A boutique hotel has no more than 100 rooms and offers a personal touch to every guest.

The 70-room hotel has been converted to 66 rooms, which are larger and roomier with the removal of some balconies. A large fitness room compensates for the absence of a pool and will feature a juice and smoothie bar for those using the fitness facility.

The familiar Pier 61 bar and the Beacon Restaurant will be converted into a rooftop bar and restaurant in the second phase of construction. This will happen once the finished hotel is complete and opened for business over a period of four to five months.

Once permits are in place, work will then begin on the rooftop construction. The seasonal rooftop restaurant and bar will be open from May to October and closed during the winter months when guests will dine indoors.

The developing mining industry is a target point for Mushtaq, who can see the benefits of accommodation and conference services for the expected business that will stimulate Thunder Bay as a hub city for the surrounding mining and energy sectors.

“Once the mining boom starts, I definitely think our location is key,” he said. “We can get a lot of corporate business because we are in the downtown (Waterfront core) with many people coming there. They can go to a nice restaurant and see the downtown. We will target the corporate market and that’s our main goal. We want to target both the corporate and the tourism market, which is in the summer months, but the corporate market is our bread and butter.”

Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal