A family business that helped launch a century of building projects in Sault Ste. Marie is embarking on a major building spree of its own.
Lyons Timber Mart is removing three old structures at its flagship location on Wellington St. West near Carmen's Way, to make room for a 20,000-square-foot storage building.
Minor variances needed for the demolition and construction to proceed were approved Wednesday by the city's committee of adjustment, which held a physically distanced hearing in the City Council chambers at the civic centre.
"This is going to be a big improvement for that corner and that whole area," said committee chair Arthur Gualazzi, who represented the neighbourhood for 18 years as Ward 5 councillor from 1965 to 1983.
"Those older buildings have been there for years," Gualazzi said.
"That's why you got no objections from the people in the area. They're all satisfied."
The new building will be unheated and will be used to store lumber and other building supplies.
One of the three structures to be demolished was originally a horse stable built by James Lyons after he founded Lyons Fuel, Hardware and Supplies Ltd. in 1913.
Lyons was mayor of Steelton before starting the business.
In later years, he served as mayor of Sault Ste. Marie and as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, where he is credited with re-routing the Trans-Canada Highway so it passed through the city.
The barn being demolished housed 24 horses that Lyons used to deliver coal to Algoma Steel and local residences.
Arrangements have been made to re-use or recycle most of the demolished barn.
"Most of that building won't hit the landfill," said Scott Beaumont, current president and general manager of the Lyons business empire, which has grown to include home centres on Black Road and St. Joseph Island.
Lyons Ltd. was acquired by Richard Beaumont in 1960.
Richard's son David bought the enterprise in 1992, with his wife Ruth joining the firm in 2005 after many years working as a teacher and raising three sons.
David's son Scott took over the reins in 2016 with his wife Natalia serving as vice president, purchasing and inventory for the three Lyons locations
Demolition of the old stable is expected to begin immediately.
The other structures will come down in the Spring of 2021, Scott Beaumont tells SooToday.
Construction of the $2-million pre-engineered building is expected to be complete next summer.