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Elora Mill Condos and Restoration
August 13, 2014

All Photos copyright ©Bob Hill
Read these Other Articles on the Elora Mill Project:
Elora Mill Revitalisation, June 11, 2013
Elora Mill Revitalization and Condominiums, October 12, 2013
Elora Mill Condominiums and Revisions, January 31, 2014

Watch the Horse and Hound event held at the Elora Mill

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The gutting of the Elora Mill has finally begun and Landmark hopes to have the Mill re-opened for business in the fall of 2015. Landmark is replacing the Elora Mill roof “which has been compromised completely in several areas”, said planner and project manager Brian Blackmere. “This will give us a watertight clean slate to begin the restoration work.”

Elora Mill Roof Deterioration

According to Blackmere, Landmark is focusing on renovating the Old Elora Mill first to accomodate the community and local merchants who requested that it be a priority. “Plans required for building permit issuance are virtually complete and ready for submission,” he said.

As for the Elora Mill condos, Blackmere expects that they will likely have floor plans and pricing available late this year or early next.

Renovations Begin at Elora Mill

One of the aspects of the new development is to maintain the historic integrity of the area and Landmark has worked tirelessly to accomodate heritage concerns. Three historic buildings have remnants on the site – the Walser building, the Little Folks administrative building and the Kiddie Car factory. Blackmere noted earlier this year that heritage study author Phil Goldsmith stated that while not designated as heritage buildings, “there is inherent benefit to the public in trying to maintain these buildings.” Which is what Landmark is planning to do.

Gutting of the Old Elora Mill

New buildings on the site are expected to draw their inspiration from the history of the site, which includes stone mill buildings in a simple industrial Georgian vernacular style.

Even after all of their effort, it is heritage concerns that are slowing the development down. Initially Landmark expected that infrastructure improvements such as sewer, water and roadworks would have been started in the spring. With fall fast approaching, they have only now just started the gutting of the Old Elora Mill.

Elora Mill on the Grand River

Landmark expects to be underway with the hydro this year but approvals have been slow. They do have a detailed design completed and are ready to go to tender on the construction.

The Elora Mill waterfront development is expected to transform Elora into a first class international village. The Elora Mill has always attracted visitors to Elora because it is one of the few early Ontario five-storey grist mills still in existence.

Landmark Proposed Elora Mill Redevelopment

Above is an illustration of how the Landmark revitalisation project is expected to shape the riverfront in Elora, showing a rebuilt Victoria Street bridge that will connect Mill Street to a newly created public square in front of the old Walser Building. The drawing also shows another pedestrian bridge leading directly into the Elora Mill.

Bridge Into Elora and Remnants of the Victoria St. Walking Bridge

The bridge will link Mill Street West to Victoria Street on the south side of the Grand River, creating pedestrian access between new commercial developments south of the river and downtown Elora. A new glassed-in walkway is also to be created connecting the new inn’s lobby on the south side of the river, with the Elora Mill Inn and its outbuildings on the north side. The walkway is expected to follow the curvature of the Drimmie Dam and lead to the second floor of the Elora Mill. Landmark is also planning to build a public walkway along the riverbank that will connect to other trails in the area.

Remnants of the Old Bridge Linking Victoria Street to Mill Street

Earlier this year Landmark began rethinking the location of some of the proposed condominiums because not all of the condos had a view of the river or green space. They were also thinking about incorporating a parking area for bus tours in the site plan, which will be located on the west side of County Road 7 north of the water treatment plant on land that they also own.

Commercial space in the new development will be owned and managed by Landmark and will specifically target boutique style retail. Blackmere also mentioned that they would like to target some space for artisans and may offer below market rental space to attract artists. Some office space will also be available for lease. In the green space that will be located in a section of the current parking area bordering the river beside the old Walser building, they are planning a music venue so that musical acts can perform there. This area will also be made available for community groups such as the Elora Festival Singers.

The Landmark Group bought the Old Elora Mill in December 2010, but closed it at that time because it was in a state of general disrepair. Landmark felt that the limited number of rooms and the limited parking didn’t make it financially viable, which is why they decided to expand their development across the river.

Elora Mill On the Grand River

The New Elora Mill Condominiums will be located at the top right
of this photo opposite the Tooth of Time

Fireplaces Inside Elora Mill

The Old Dining Area inside Elora Mill

Remnants of the Little Folks Toy Company Sign and Buildings

Remnants of the Old Bridge Linking Victoria Street on One Side of the River to Mill Street on the Other

Bridge Into Elora From Little Folks Property

For any information on Elora, Fergus, Guelph or the surrounding area, call or text me at 519-400-5301 or email me at [email protected]