Skip to content

Two Elliot Lake mid-century buildings receiving new lease on life (13 photos)

Renovations will create residential and commercial spaces in landmark buildings

Two of Elliot Lake’s landmark buildings constructed in the late 1950s are being restored to house apartments and retail space. They are the Elliot Plaza in the upper plaza and the former grocery store, and former Melanie’s Liquidation furniture store in the lower plaza with its familiar domed roof.

The owner of both is a developer and mortgage provider based in the Hamilton area.

He spoke with ElliotLakeToday on the condition of anonymity and is spending over $1 million to bring the structures back from a rundown state. His vision is to renovate and rent upper floor apartments with the lower ground floor level of the plaza being leased for retail space. The lower plaza building will include ground floor retail space and two lower level apartments.

According to Adel Alkhafaji of Toronto-based Canadian Construction and Consultant Engineers Inc., the upper plaza building renovations will be completed gradually as construction is completed. The 19,000 square foot building will have 24 one- and two-bedroom apartments on the second floor and 16 1,600-foot retail spaces on the main floor. The commercial units can be built to suit the renters' needs.

Alkhafaji said he expects the renovations will take several months to have apartments and retail space gradually completed and rented. The owner is aiming for March to begin renting space. Long time tenant The Source will be the first to move to its new location soon.

The apartments are considered luxury units and will rent for $1,100 for one-bedroom and $1,400 for the two-bedroom units, according to the owner. The renters will include all ages including seniors. The Elliot Plaza is also central to the city’s business core. Units are split into two sections, one to house seniors and the other for young adults.

The work had also seen all windows replaced, up-to-date fire code with sprinklers installed in each unit, a laundry room, wider doorways in the units along with an elevator installed for easy access to the apartments on the second floor.

Each unit has its own heating system and hot water heater that can be controlled by the tenant.

The upper plaza building has been completely gutted and a new sloped roof was put on last year to replace the former flat roof which was prone to leaking due to melting snow and rain.

“We’re doing a great job,” the owner said. “We’re renovating the whole building.”

The original steel beam construction has kept the structure solid since it was first built around 1958, according to Alkhafaji.

Alkhafaji said general labourer positions were advertised with about 600 inquiries made. Only five job inquiries were made from potential employees from Elliot Lake with two who declined when seeing the scope of the work.

Most of the workers hired come from the Toronto area where different contractors have been used for the different aspects of the renovation taking place, including electrical, drywall, and bathroom and kitchen installation.

The workers are housed in apartments and work 12 days on with three days off.

The owner purchased the upper plaza building 12 years ago from Rio Algom mines for about $500,000. He said he has had experience with tenants defaulting on their rent in the business section.

On Monday, signs were put in the building window directing potential renters to call 1-888-606-0200 for information. The owner said income information will be one of the requirements to rent.

Work on the lower plaza building, which the owner also purchased recently is slowly taking place with no concrete target for its completion.


About the Author: Kris Svela

Kris Svela has worked in community newspapers for the past 36 years covering politics, human interest, courts, municipal councils, and the wide range of other topics of community interest
Read more