Raven Inn & Suites by Mary Ellen Read

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The city is poised to gain a major new 57-room hotel.

Kurt Mehnert, a partner in Raven Inn Whitehorse Inc., will be bringing a premier mixed-use boutique hotel to Whitehorse over the next 14 months.

The hotel, to be built on the vacant property near the Second Avenue-Keish Street intersection, is scheduled to open in 2019.

Its cost is not being made public.

“This is an exciting new development for the Whitehorse waterfront area,” Mehnert said Tuesday.

The hotel will be the first brand new major hotel development to be built downtown since as far back as 1971, when the Yukon Inn was originally constructed, Mehnert said.

(Other local hotels have had major renovations or expansions since that time, and the Family Hotel has been built.)

The project announced Tuesday is also the Yukon’s first mixed-use hotel project supported by investors looking to include their residential units in the hotel as rooms.

“The innovative concept of investing in hotel units is becoming increasingly popular in other regions,” said Doug Gilday, the president of NGC Builders – also known as Narrow Gauge – and a hotel partner and general contractor.

“A number of units presold with spacious decks, river views and full kitchens will support the Yukon’s first premier hotel with an outdoor hot tub and cedar sauna.”

NGC has brought several notable condominium developments to the Yukon. 

The company also has hotel experience in the Gertie’s Wing for the expansion of the Westmark Dawson Hotel in 2002 and earlier an addition to the 202 Elite Hotel Whitehorse in 1999.

“Northern Front Studio is proud to work together with NGC Builders on this project,” said chief architect Mary Ellen Read.

“Our relationship with NGC is founded on mutual respect, and bringing that collaborative energy to the client is always a great experience.

“This building design is inspired by historic Klondike Gold Rush architecture that is regionally appropriate and unique only to Yukon.”

Support and development from the local branches of Business Development Canada and the Royal Bank of Canada also made the project possible along with what was land of the former White Pass shipyards.

The ground floor of the hotel will welcome both hotel guests and visitors.

“This will be a new cultural and social hub for Whitehorse, serving drinks and light entrées, bringing an exciting new establishment to the riverfront area of downtown,” the proponents said in a statement.

The hotel also looks to welcome tour traffic from Skagway and along the Alaska Highway. 

“The prime location on Second Avenue near the Yukon River and nearby Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre should also attract those looking to stay downtown among the natural beauty of Whitehorse known by its official motto as The Wilderness City,” the statement said.

The partnership in ownership between the builder and the hotel enables a locally owned and operated hotel company to share experience throughout the build process and beyond, the statement said.

The statement said initial interest has been positive, and the hotel plans to take advanced booking interest by this fall for some reservations beginning in January 2020 and allow for more 2019 dates as construction progresses.

- Whitehorse Star

Our Team by Mary Ellen Read

We are happy to introduce our growing team!

Mary Ellen Read, Principal Architect

With over 18 years of practical experience in architectural design and project management, Mary Ellen Read is the Principal of Northern Front Studio. She graduated her Bachelor of Architecture with High Distinction from Carleton University and has since worked in various major cities across North America. Having gathered a wide range of skills, Mary Ellen strives to provide clients with valuable design expertise and ensure project continuity from the conceptual stage, until completion.

Jun Kwon, Architectural Designer

Jun has an Honours Bachelor’s Degree from University of Toronto. Here, he received a major in architectural design, as well as in architectural history, theory, and criticism, with a minor in Hungarian studies. Jun is highly interested in arctic architecture and heritage preservation, and has a genuine wish to assist the community through excellent architectural work. He has worked on projects in Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and Myanmar.

Amy Wheat, Interior Design Technologist

A graduate from Lethbridge College, Amy grew up in the Edmonton area until recently relocating to Whitehorse in 2018. Amy began at Northern Front Studio not long after moving to the Yukon and is looking forward to embracing this new challenge, as well as growing in this industry.

Angela Perdue, Intern

Angela is interning at Northern Front Studio while studying for her bilingual Bachelor’s of Architectural Studies (BAST) in Northern Ontario. She is passionate about design-build and regionalism and aspires to taking a place-based approach to designing in and for the north.

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YuKonstruct Innovation Hub by Mary Ellen Read

Whitehorse's "makerspace" will soon have a new, bigger home — a new "innovation hub" in the city's downtown.

The government of Yukon has budgeted up to $1.9 million for the project, while the Canadian government is contributing a further $1.5 million, to help YuKonstruct  convert a long-vacant building into the Yukon Innovation Hub. It will be located in the former Super Valu grocery store on Second Avenue.

Northern Vision Development, the company that owns the building, is also chipping in $1.3 million over several years. 

Jaret Slipp, executive director of YuKonstruct, says innovation thrives when people can easily collaborate. (Claudiane Samson/Radio-Canada)

"We've outgrown our spaces," said Jaret Slipp, referring to both YuKonstruct and (co)space. Slipp is the executive director of YuKonstruct.

The new 20,000-square foot space will also house the Yukon Development Corporation and Yukon College's Cold Climate Innovation Centre.

According to Yukon Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai, it's about a creating a place to foster new ideas and entrepreneurship.

"This is the time to do it," Pillai said. "We have a phenomenal boom right now in the commodities market, and that is the time to continue to focus on how we will diversify."

Pillai said that the new facility will also signal to outside inventors and investors that Yukon supports people with good ideas.

"Time spent by our entrepreneurs searching out support and knocking on doors is time not spent developing their ideas and building their businesses," he said.

Slipp agreed, saying that innovation thrives when people can easily collaborate and support each other.

"Ultimately, this place will bring together the brightest and most creative minds of the Yukon, and show the world that a small remote community can be a global leader," he said.

The new facility is expected to open this summer. 

- CBC News

Live by Mary Ellen Read

Our new website is live! Many thanks to Paige Hopkins, Editor-in-Chief at Shakat Journal for her efforts at making sense of it all.