'Full steam ahead': Construction resumes at Ocean View Resort in Summerside
'It took a little while to sort out a few issues'
Construction on the long-delayed, and now newly named, Ocean View Resort & Golf facility in Summerside has resumed.
The development was most recently known as the Prince Alex Resort and Conference Centre and before that — in the 1990s — it was known as the Dynasty Spa.
Businessman Sean Liu purchased the property in 2005 and said he wanted to finish the spa by the following year, but that didn't happen.
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The project has been delayed a number of times over the past 12 years, but the resort's new vice president, Dallas Desjardins, said he doesn't expect further holdups.
"I definitely believe the delays are behind," he said. "It took a little while to sort out a few issues, obviously."
Desjardins said he has been tasked with assembling Liu's management team.
Water and sewer installation
While he begins putting the marketing team together, another team has been working to install the permanent water and sewer and new road leading to the building.
"They did two new additions in the last few years to increase the size of the resort, but they were only working off temporary power and everything, but now with the proper systems in place being the sewer and electrical, we'll be able to start full steam ahead pretty soon," he explained.
When finished, Desjardins said the 113,000-square-foot facility will have 69 rooms, convention space, two restaurants, a pool and a spa, and will have cost more than $20 million to build.
The resort also includes the adjacent golf course Liu purchased with the help of a $900,000 loan guarantee from the City of Summerside in 2016. City officials confirmed the loan was paid off in February.
Golf course operating
"That loan was set up as a stopgap measure for the owners and it was set up that way," said Bob Ashley, Summerside's chief administrative officer.
The golf course and club house are operating.
Though it has taken awhile, Ashley said the city is encouraged by all the new work being done.
"I wouldn't characterize it as delays so much as a reconfigurations, where the original plans have gone through several iterations and some pretty significant changes according to the vision of the owners, so, yes, a little bit of a delay, but also a little bit of redesign and it's spanned over a long time, but we're really encouraged because there's a lot of equipment out there working."
Liu was just breaking into the tourism industry and navigating how to proceed with the resort when the recession hit in 2008, Desjardins said.
Resort expected to open by 2020
"He wanted to wait until it was a stable economic environment and he felt that that happened a couple of years ago. Hence he purchased the golf course, did the round building outside the resort along with the new wing, and now he's going to be going full force."
Desjardins said he expects interior work to begin later this fall, or early winter. The new date for the resort opening is sometime in 2019 or 2020.
"We are definitely catering to travellers from abroad, so hopefully the economic impact just getting all the tourists in, whether it be from Canada, North America or Asia, which we do plan to get quite a few travellers in from, it's going to be significant," Desjardins said.
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