Patrick Roy was born in Corner Brook, but left the area with his mom when he was still quite young.
After helping build a successful property development business in Ontario, he is now ready to bring something back to the place he still has a fond attachment to.
That first order of business for Roy and the company, Elmm Incorporated, is to renovate the former Home Hardware building on Country Road in Corner Brook and turn it into an affordable housing complex.
“We’ve been running primarily out of Ontario, but we want to change 50 per cent of the business we do as a company to Newfoundland,” Roy said in an interview Friday. “We are taking half of those budgets and funding and inserting it into the western coast of Newfoundland. That is our goal.”
Roy said Elmm Inc. has a 10-year plan for creating affordable housing and other developments in the western region.
The old Home Hardware building is going to be transformed into a 12-unit building with seven two-bedroom apartments and a one-bedroom apartment on the main floor, two three-bedroom apartments on the upper floor and two more two-bedroom units in the basement.
Still working on finalizing permits with the City of Corner Brook, Roy said they are also considering a second, smaller structure to be erected on the property’s current parking lot. Parking for the finished buildings would be at the rear of the complex, he said.
Roy, whose mom is from the O’Keefe family in Benoit’s Cove, wants his wife and daughter to know more about where he came from. That is part of the reason why he, as well as his Corner Brook business partner Clyde Simmons, wants to focus more of their business activity in the area.
“We couldn’t be happier to be starting with an affordable housing project in Corner Brook,” said Roy, who owns a cabin just outside the city.
Elmm Inc. has partnered with the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation to access programs available for new affordable housing developments.
“There are no grants given to us," he said. "We will still pay the full amount. It’s just a great partner to have to get financing in place.”
Jill Snow, the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation’s affordable housing specialist for Newfoundland and Labrador, said the main focus of the organization’s programs is to provide safe, suitable and affordable housing to vulnerable Canadians. This project is a good fit, she said.
The Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation defines affordability as anyone paying no more than 30 per cent of their pre-tax income on housing costs.
Roy said the company intends to hold a session in November to try to generate a list of potential tenants for the new building. While this development will not be restricted to any particular set of people who meet the affordability criteria, Roy said the interest expressed will help give the company an idea of where the next focus should be in the area.
“I have a feeling people are going to be extremely happy with how these apartments are going to be designed and the way they’re going to turn out,” said Roy.