For decades, the city of Sault Ste. Marie has sought out a plan for a parcel of waterfront property known as the Gateway site. Over the years, many developers have come and gone pitching their ideas for a major tourist attraction. Each and every proposal that was brought forward ended with a shovel nowhere close to be going into the ground.
The 15 acres for the most part has sat empty. The city pretty much giving up on any plan for a tourist attraction at that location.
Enter Tony Porco.
The local businessman owns SIS group who took over the adjacent property and developed the Machine Shop and the Canal district very successfully and now he plans on doing the same to the Gateway site.
On Tuesday, Sault Ste. Marie city council will hear his plans on purchasing the property from the city and creating a new commercial development that will complement the existing Canal District.
The plans call for a a mix of uses including an Automotive Museum, Deli and Restaurant, Event Spaces and Recreation activities plus a Butterfly Emporium. The project concept is designed to be an exciting addition to the Canal District and will complement the existing boardwalk, Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic
Site and Agawa Canyon Train Station. In total, the project will represent over 35,000 square feet of tourism and community event space.
SIS Group has indicated there will be up to 100 new jobs created as a result of this development between the restaurant, recreation amenities, event space and museum. Using estimates for construction and job creation of 100 retail trade positions, the Northern Policy Institute Economic Impact Calculator indicates that this investment would generate $16,530,000 of (direct, indirect and induced) income (GDP) in Algoma and 139 (direct, indirect and induced) full-year equivalent jobs. It should be noted that the jobs would be anticipated to ramp up as operations permit.
From a tourism standpoint, the proposed development complements tourism efforts to increase visitor options and increase the length of stay in the community. The new development will complement the existing operations across the street at the Canal District and will help to animate the waterfront and Hub Trail in this area.
It’s not a done deal yet though,
As the Gateway Site is a brownfield site, the Agreement of Purchase and Sale provides a 45 day due diligence and conditional period to complete environmental studies/testing regarding Parcel One and satisfy the buyer
regarding the condition of Parcel One. If not satisfied with respect to such matters within the Conditional Period, SIS Group may terminate the Agreement.
SIS group will pay $200,000 for the property.