Updating Westridge Plaza

Tuesday May 2, 2017

Since we've last been over to the Westridge shopping area, a few new things have sprung up. The plaza that contains Reitman's, Best Buy and the Dollar Tree is sporting a new sign showing "Westridge Place" with spaces for the stores in the complex to be shown ... the stores haven't been added to the sign yet so I'm guessing the sign is fairly new.

The old views of the Westridge Plaza.
The Westridge Plaza in it's early days.
The Westridge Plaza in Orillia with Best Buy replacing Future Shop, and Dollar Tree replacing Dollar Giant.
The current view of Westridge Plaza - May 2017
The adjunct to this plaza (which has Grace Chiroptractic,  KRG Insurance, and Westridge Family Dentistry) has a new occupant: Bradley Homes, which appears to be a sales office. In front of this this little business section of the plaza is a stand of 4 new shops ... and another "Westridge Place" sign. These shops were in the construction phase late last fall, but the building is finally completed and it looks as though the shops are up and running (lots of cars there on an off during the day).

The small business section of Westridge Plaza.
The smaller bussiness-type section of the Westridge Plaza

The new building houses a Mucho Burrito; Extreme Pita; Boost Juice; Popeye's and iFix Mobile. There is still a small shop between iFix Mobile and Booster Juice that has paper on the windows and I don't know if (or what) anything might be going in there soon.

I haven't been out and about much since we got back, not even walking around the plazas close to us. I'm having a hard time getting re-acclimatized ... when you've been exposed to warm weather all winter (mostly in the mid to high 70s) and a month and a half (March/April) of mid 80s to 90s ... coming back to temps in the 40s and 50s is hard to get used to.

Once the weather gets a little warmer and sunnier (already getting tired of the grey skies and rain/drizzle) I'll do a walk around to see what's changed close to us, and do a hike to Orillia's downtown to see what's new and what's gone so I can update the shopping ... and check out the waterfront to see what's happening there.

One of the things I've been watching with interest is the development slated for the corner of Matchedash and Mississaga Street downtown. Matchedash Lofts has been in the works for a couple of years now and are forging ahead with sales; I've been anxious to see how they fare. The conceptual drawings (which I saw before the old Patterson building was even removed) looked amazing. If you have a facebook account, you can see their page here: Matchedash Lofts. Some of the photos they show of Orillia are mine (which they asked permission to use). If you don't have a facebook account you can visit their own site at MatchedashLofts.ca.

The developers are a family affair, and what I liked most when they presented the drawings of the exterior plans for the building was the fact that they seemed to understand Orillia, and it's downtown area. The building fits into the surroundings like it was always there ... and meant to be there (unlike the new library which, while beautiful, is much more modern and doesn't fit well (to my eyes anyway) with the Orillia Opera house). Instead, Matchedash Lofts designed the building to look like a heritage building, rather than some modern monstrosity. I like it a lot, and that's saying something (because I firmly believe Orillia needs to keep the heritage look front and center in the downtown area).

Anyway, if you haven't had a chance to check out Matchedash Lofts, and like the idea of living downtown without the hassle, and with the ability to walk almost anywhere you want to go, Matchedash Lofts would be a great option. I'd love to move there since we're retired and looking for ways to live in the city without having to drive all over ... but we're also looking to downsize in more ways than just square footage. The cost for the lofts would be beyond the ability for a lot of retired Orillians. Living in one would make my life easier, but to what advantage if we can't afford to do anything else?  If we sold our house in Westridge, we might be able to buy a loft without a mortgage, which is essentially a necessity when you retire. We have reasonable pensions, but pensions aren't designed to cover things like expensive mortgages. (Given the real estate climate in Orillia, the Loft's prices aren't actually out of whack - the housing prices locally seem to have soared over the last year or so, so housing in most areas of the city have jumped quite a lot above what I would have expected.)

The lofts almost seem to be created more for "big city" folks who want out of the city, but still need to be in commuting distance for work. In a way, that's sad because locals could use such options but many can't afford them (for those who can, get yours quick!) ... and in another way, it can be good too because it brings in new residents and may breathe new life into the downtown area (which - by the way - is a pretty viable area already.)

Stay tuned to the blog for more updates and changes in the city.