Destination North is One Step Closer to Reality

This was part of the plan for the St. Marys Paper site.

A planned waterfront attraction on the former St. Marys Paper site is now one step closer to reality. Science North Enterprises, along with the architectural firm Yallowega Belanger, has been hired to assist in the advancement of Destination North. The project is set to repurpose the historic Pulp Tower into a cultural, educational and recreational centre. The Sudbury-based development specialists will work with local stakeholders to help plan the next steps.

“We’re in the business of advancing revitalization,” said Justus Veldman, CEO of Riversedge Developments, the developer of the former St. Marys Paper site. “We start with regional resources that can be leveraged to create new economic opportunities relevant to the communities we’re working with. Unexpectedly, at St. Marys Paper, we saw an opportunity to work with the incredible expertise in the natural sciences to develop the programming for Destination North.”

Destination North is being spearheaded by a Steering Committee consisting of representatives from Riversedge Developments, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC), Tourism Sault Ste. Marie and the City of Sault Ste. Marie. By engaging Science North Enterprises and Yallowega Belanger, the committee intends to generate a solid plan for development, which will be used to drive the project forward.

“In order to access funding, investors first want to see a sound and current business plan,” said Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the SSMEDC. “That’s what we’re doing by working with Science North Enterprises and Yallowega Belanger. They have development expertise that’s a perfect fit for this project.”

In 2013, the idled St. Marys Paper site was purchased by Riversedge Developments. Since then, the company has been working to redevelop the land into a mixed-use property, which has been named Mill Square. The historical administration building, for instance, is being converted into the new home of the Algoma Conservatory of Music, while the old machine shop is being renovated into a performance and arts venue.destination-north-1

The Destination North component is the next step in the overall development of the waterfront property. The attraction would help draw visitors to the community while also acting as a gathering place for area residents. The hiring of Science North Enterprises and Yallowega Belanger was made possible thanks to an investment from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Meanwhile, Destination North will add to the Municipality’s overall downtown development strategy, which includes a number of projects in the land stretching from the former Sault Area Hospital site to the International Bridge. The Mill Square project is a key component of the strategy.

“Destination North is an important step in anchoring the westerly section of the community’s downtown redevelopment,” said Jerry Dolcetti, Commissioner of the City’s Engineering and Planning Department. “Sault Ste. Marie has come a long way from the early-1970s when oil tankers and scrap yards dominated our waterfront and downtown area. With the development projects that are now underway, the opportunities for the area are even brighter.”

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