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Sault hotel back in business after $2-million transformation.

After almost one year and $2 million worth of renovations, the landmark Windsor Park Hotel in Sault Ste. Marie is open again for business.

The hotel, purchased by Tree Top Investments of Singapore last November, has undergone a massive transformation.

"We basically took the hotel and gutted it. About 90 per cent of the hotel was changed," explains Elmano Lima, the hotel's general manager. "We changed the look because it wasn't in keeping with the times."

When the hotel re-opened its doors for the first bus tour on Sept. 17, it sported seven new meeting rooms, four luxury suites with such amenities as fireplaces, jacuzzis and whirlpool baths, and a refurbished convention centre.

The hotel's mechanical, electrical and climate-control systems were overhauled.

According to Lima, the work also included removing retail space from the front of the hotel to accommodate an expansion of the Oak Room Restaurant for 140 people.

The massive injection of capital is welcome news for the business community of the Sault which has been fighting for its survival because of cross-border shopping and the turmoil at Algoma Steel.

In addition, employment at the Windsor Park has increased from 17 to 60 full- and part-time employees.

Lima said Tree Top Investment chose to invest in the 66-room hotel - its first in Canada - because "the company believes it is a good property to invest in, and it has a good downtown location."

Lima added that the Pacific Rim company is also examining properties in Western Canada, Montreal and the United States.

"There's nothing definite yet. They're still searching for other locations," he said. "The main thing was to get this hotel open."

Lima said the hotel's proximity to the Ontario Lottery Corporation headquarters is ideal for the Windsor Parks' new marketing strategy.

"The whole thrust (of the marketing plan) is as a business hotel," he said, pointing out the new amenities offered at the hotel. "We're across from the Lottery Corporation, the forestry centre and the aviation centre. We're right in the heart of it all."

Company officials also plan to market the hotel south of the border and are contemplating some foreign markets.

Despite its foreign ownership, Lima said the new owners realize the importance of maintaining ties with the local community.

"The company follows a simple rule, keep the hotel locally run, as part of the community, not as part of world-wide system," he noted.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Windsor Park Hotel, Windsor, Ontario
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Oct 1, 1991
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