Derelict Meech Lake landmark O'Brien House to get new life as boutique hotel

The National Capital Commission has approved the lease of O'Brien House, overlooking Meech Lake, to the owners of the Wakefield Mill Hotel and Spa, who plan to reopen it as a boutique hotel by next Canada Day.

Wakefield Mill owners plan to reopen O'Brien House as boutique hotel in time for Canada Day 2017

The NCC's board approved plans onSept. 12, 2016 for the historic O'Brien House on Meech Lake in Gatineau Park to be restored and turned into a boutique hotel. (National Capital Commission)

Its windows are broken and its doors boarded up, but a once-grand stone and timber home perched on the rocks overlooking Meech Lake in Gatineau Park is about to get another life as a boutique hotel.

The owners of the Wakefield Mill Hotel and Spa have signed a five-year lease, with 20-year option to renew, to reopen O'Brien House under a new name, the National Capital Commission confirmed Monday.

The NCC had hoped to keep the name of the future tenant under wraps, but it was revealed after Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, who participates in NCC board meetings as an observer, asked about the status of the Wakefield Mill Inn's lease.

The board approved the $3.9-million restoration of the three-storey, 8,200-square-foot home into the Kincora Lodge Boutique Hotel. The NCC will pay for that restoration.

Goal to reopen by Canada Day 2017

The plan would see 11 suites created in the main house, which was built in 1930 for Renfrew, Ont., businessman Ambrose O'Brien, and was originally known as Kincora Lodge. O'Brien founded the National Hockey Association, the predecessor to the NHL, and was a founding owner of the Montreal Canadiens. 

The home was purchased by the federal government in 1964 and used as a conference centre, but has sat vacant since the late 1980s.

The new tenant's plan calls for the existing garage to be torn down and replaced with a new coach house that would contain conference facilities and three additional suites.

The goal is to see the hotel open by Canada's 150th birthday on July 1, 2017.