Paletta Mansion is expected to get an new operator in the New Year. These guys are not going to be selling hot dogs over there.

August 17, 2013.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  The city, finally, put out a media release on the renting of the Paletta Mansion  to a restaurant operation.

City Council approved the renting of the property after running advertisements looking for someone who could do something with a property that had all kinds of prestige but they couldn’t turn on a profit on the place.  There was a time when the sales and rental numbers for Paletta were mixed in with the numbers for Geraldo’s at LaSalle Park.  When one of the bean counters at city hall took the numbers apart – Paletta didn’t look very good.

This could become the front entrance to an upscale, fine dining high end restaurant.  Would the grounds still be available to the public?

It looked so bad that the city decided to look for a professional operator to do something with the place.  All the history and the fine restoration work were nice to look at but the space just wasn’t used enough and it was clear the city didn’t have the capacity to run it.

 It took more than one Expression of Interest advertisement to bring in the kind of operator the city had hoped would come forward.  But they did get a bite and this time there was something well worth reeling in.  In a media release the city announced that it “will soon sign a contract with Radius restaurant group, a Hamilton-based company, which will become the service operator at the city’s historic Paletta Mansion starting in January 2014.

They appear to have attracted someone who has the experience and the reputation to make the site work as a very high-end, fine dining location.

The grounds are exceptional, the setting is picture perfect.  There is all the parking that one can ask for.  Look for valet parking once the place opens.

There hasn’t been a lot of detail available from the city on the lease agreement.  City hall wasn’t prepared to release details until the fine print on the lease agreement had been worked out.  The questions to be asked before the ink dries on the lease is: just what is being rented?  Just the Mansion?  The grounds surrounding it?  The sweeping lawn south of the wide stone deck that give a great view of the lake?

Will the grounds become a private enclave?  Birders will tell you that some of the best pictures they get are on the Paletta grounds.

Early attempt to reach the company that was going to lease the property proved futile.  When we finally managed to get someone from the company on the phone – we got disconnected. 

City council approved Radius after the city received four bids as part of a request for proposal process.  They add that details “of the agreement will be made public once the contract is signed later this month.” The existing vendor will stay in place until December 2013.  Until then, all bookings for Paletta Mansion will continue as usual.

Paletta Lakefront Park and Mansion is located on 14 acres of waterfront parkland. It offers community space, a lakeside park with walking trails, a beautifully restored heritage mansion and breathtaking views.

The mansion is used for corporate and public meetings, weddings and social functions. It is considered one of the finest representations of great estate homes designed and built in Burlington between 1912 and 1932.

The property at one time was actually owned by Laura Secord.  There is nothing recorded that suggests she ever visited the property.  Flipping land was apparently one of the ways to turn some cash back in those days.

There are some questions that need to be asked as the city wades into a deal with a new operator.  The city didn’t provide any details when it announced the company it would lease the location to. Radius.  When the tender for the pier was announced the city provided numbers.

Radius hasn’t been at all forthcoming with information.

The Mansion is a gem, the setting is superb and there is an opportunity to put a very high-end dining establishment in the buildings. 

We will dig about a bit and see what else we can come up with.


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