Friday Harbour Resort to Expand Retail Component

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By Mario Toneguzzi

Friday Harbour All Seasons Resort is establishing itself as one of the most extraordinary escapes in Canada, and the developer is adding retail to the mix. 

The world-class waterside destination in Innisfil, just a short distance from Toronto, is now a year-round attraction on Lake Simcoe for homeowners and long time cottagers - “infusing nature, luxury, brilliance and entertainment into every moment,” says the resort on its website.

James DiRenzo, CEO of Friday Harbour, says the property spans over 600 acres, and he says that it is “a wonderful lifestyle mix of lake, beach, golf, tennis, 200-acre nature preserve and the largest in land marina in North America.”

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DiRenzo says Friday Harbour also has an exclusive Beach Club as well as an array of recreation and leisure activities. There’s a swimming pool and children’s splash pad. And of course its signature 18-hole championship golf course designed by Doug Carrick with a certified PGA professional. There’s also a driving range.

“The location provides for a full array of winter, summer, all-season sports. We’re very pleased to be there because of the nature of the people that live in that area, visit that area,” says DiRenzo.

“It’s a sportsman’s paradise. It’s got some of the greatest summer fishing and winter fishing that you will find anywhere on the planet."

DiRenzo says Friday Harbour Resort was designed with an emphasis on protecting the health of the woodlands and wetlands within the site and the quality of water within Lake Simcoe. Several components are aimed at enhancing environmental sustainability.

At various locations throughout the Nature Preserve, habitats have been restored or created to enhance the health and diversity of the ecosystem. Specific initiatives have been  implemented as a component of the development of Friday Harbour Resort. "Lifestyle starts at home in Friday Harbour, and we have a wonderful selection of resort living options from luxury townhomes to designer  condominiums and boardwalk flats that encompass the retail village,” he says.

Altogether there will be over 2500 resort homes at Friday Harbour when it is completed, consisting of one-third townhomes and two-thirds condos. Prices in the master-planned resort range from $350,000 to over $3 million, 1,100 units have already been sold. “Sales have been so brisk. We are getting more per square foot than some construction sites in Toronto as far as luxury value is concerned. We’ve got approximately 500 homeowners moved in now, occupied,” says DiRenzo.

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“This is very unique unlike anywhere else where you have that combination of a resort and luxury private club mix.” DiRenzo knows about the creation and management of private clubs, which has been the hallmark of his career around the globe.

The Boardwalk retail area will span about 46,000 square feet. Phase One consists of 23,000 square feet of retail space and is leased out to, Starbucks, FH Fine Food, and Fishbone and Avenue restaurant, and negotiations continue with LCBO. There’s also a Friday Harbour Welcome Centre, and there will be a 3,500-square foot, state-of-the art life/fitness gym.

Phase Two, which is also 23,000 square feet, has retail spaces available ranging from 300 square feet to 10,000 square feet.

Antoinette Grossi, director of leasing with Metrus Properties, which is leasing the retail space, says, “We are doing an upscale Friday Harbour weekend wear clothing store and we are looking for unique, eclectic stores for the remaining balance of the retail units such as clothing, crafts, entertainment and services.”

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“We would love a pub and quick service restaurants like sushi or burgers. We are also looking for home and decor. Another great option will be our pop-up store of about 1,000 square feet that every quarter we would have different vendors.” says Grossi.

“The first phase of the development is open and operational. We’re just finalizing the second phase of construction which will be completed by the end of August.”

“There will also be a hotel on site,” says Grossi. “We are also looking to do something of an indoor and outdoor spa facility as well. We have the land capacity to do that,” says Grossi.

Friday Harbour Resort is truly a resort lifestyle, in true north style and elegance. For more information on Friday Harbour you can visit their web site at www.fridayhabour.com or for leasing information, call Metrus at 905 669 9714.

Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: mdtoneguzzi@gmail.com

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