Former Bayview hotel converted into apartments for rent next spring

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There is light at the end of the tunnel for the old Bayview Hotel. The iconic building has been under construction for many years, but recent progress is evident.

Formerly a bustling restaurant and inn as well as a tavern / nightclub and rooming house, the building is now repositioned to offer 15 apartments – mostly studios and one bedroom units.

Progress in the renovation has been slow. Time and money have always been the problem, explained Robert Hutton of Xavier Developments.

“Banks are terrible at lending money for projects like this. If you’re going to do it yourself, it takes time, ”he explained, adding that the company is involved in other projects so weather has been a big issue, but COVID has changed that. While the pandemic was not welcome, it was good for the project. “It’s been good for this project because we’ve hardly done anything else for about two years, which is why you see a lot of improvements on the outside.”

The view of the bay Lodge & Restaurant in 1936. At that time, it was owned by the Muskoka Wood Manufacturing Company and mainly served as a boarding house for their workers. (Photo courtesy of Muskoka Heritage Place.)
Bayview Hotel
The Bayview Hotel circa 1980 (Photo by Dr. NE Hunt, courtesy Muskoka Digital Archives)

“Since 1890 it has always been a hotel, and then it became something of a room-bar house,” Hutton said, adding that when the indoor smoking ban came into effect in 2006, this hurt business. “We were not a family establishment like Kelseys. We were an old-fashioned tavern.

Ultimately, it was decided that given the location, available parking, bay views, and the need for more housing in the community, the apartments would be the best use and best financial return for the property.

“It’s definitely a labor of love,” Hutton said. “No need to mince words, it’s been a horror since the 80s, eh, when they put pink stucco on it, then a demolished brick building so, yeah, our neighbors are pretty happy…”

The building is approximately 9,000 square feet and has been fundamentally renovated from the ground up. The company has not accessed any government housing programs, Hutton said. “Sometimes that complicates the process… we kind of wanted to stay in control. “

When asked if a name change was needed, Hutton replied, “I think it will always be the Bayview.”

The apartments will have entrances on the parking side of the building and terraces on the station side. Hutton said the only common hallway will be on the second floor where there will also be a few apartments. He said 70-80% of the building will be accessible. The company markets the apartments mainly to single retirees. Tenants would pay for their electricity use and water and sewer costs would be included in the rent, Hutton said.

He said that once the apartments are ready for rent, in early spring, there will be a sign outside the building with a phone number for inquiries.

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