New hotel and condo will bring 57 more rooms to Whitehorse

A hotel with 57 rooms is being built in Whitehorse near the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre. The new co-owner says it's in response to Yukon tourism growing in both summer and winter.

'It's very difficult to get a room in the summertime,' says co-owner

A groundbreaking ceremony promises the first new hotel in Whitehorse in years. Kurt Mehnert (third from left) is a partner with Raven Inn Whitehorse Inc. He says there is unmet demand for hotel rooms in Whitehorse. Also shown are staff from NGC Builders which is a partner in the project. (Raven Inn Whitehorse Inc.)

Whitehorse hasn't seen a major hotel go up since 1971, but that's about to change. A ground-breaking ceremony earlier this week marked the beginning of construction for the Raven Inn— a 57-room hotel and condo building. 

Kurt Mehnert is the general manager and co-owner for the new venture, Raven Inn Whitehorse Inc. He said there is clearly a growing demand for accommodations in the city.

"Some of the feedback I'm getting is that it's very difficult to get a room in the summertime," he said.

"The winter is picking up as well, in overseas northern lights tours."

Yukon had record-breaking visitation numbers in 2017, according to the 2016-17 tourism report from the Yukon government. It also found that overall tourism sector revenues in Yukon are estimated to have increased 7.5 per cent in 2017 over 2016.

The average occupancy rate for Yukon hotels was above 84 per cent for May, June, July and August last year. The total average occupancy year-round was 67 per cent, based on statistics from 500 rooms across the territory.

​NGC Builders is a partner in the venture, and the building has been partly funded by the pre-sale of 19 condo units.

Gold Rush architecture

The Raven Inn, located near the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre, will also feature a restaurant. 

Chief Architect Mary Ellen Read said in a press release that the design was "inspired by historic Klondike Gold Rush architecture." The company said a colour rendering will soon be released showing the final design.

The new hotel is scheduled to open in the second half of 2019.