EMBRUN – What started as a dream all the way back in 1998 has finally become a reality.

After years of planning and development, the amalgamation of five business including Centre de santé communautaire de l’Estrie (CSCE), Embrun Smiles Family Dentistry, The Co-operators | philryan.ca Insurance and Investment Company, Notre Dame Pharmacy and Robillard Hearing Centre finally opened its doors Thurs., Oct. 24.

“We are working in a vibrant and cool place,” said Philippe Ryan, owner of Place 649 and The Co-operators | philryan.ca Insurance and Investment Company.

According to Ryan, the creation of Place 649 sets a new level of professionalism for the businesses that have come together to open shop within the building.

“I could’ve converted a home, or I could’ve said, ‘Hey, let’s build a professional-looking building where we will house professional services,’” he said. “There are a lot of people in Embrun that are local and go to Ottawa for their dentists, for their doctors and for their pharmacies because the average consumer wants to be served in a professional-looking environment.”

For the project of Place 649 to go ahead, Ryan needed something great to start with, a good lease. After he was able to secure the Embrun Smiles Family Dentistry Clinic and his own Co-operators office, he knew immediately that he needed a minimum of 7,500 sq. ft.

As for where he got inspiration, he looked to where the Embrun Library is located; attached to École élémentaire catholique, which a lot of people are unaware of. The relocation of the Embrun Library has been a project in motion for a while now and Ryan figured that he could be the one to find the library a new home.

He soon found the property at 649 Notre Dame St.; hence the name.

“I thought that this complex would probably house the library at one point,” he said. “I was hoping that I would win that. So I said, ‘Too bad, I’m going to build a two-storey building and I’m going to make it exactly as they wish… exactly what they needed.”

Unfortunately, Ryan has not been able to secure the Library relocation yet due to budget constraints, but he is still hoping to bring in more businesses for Place 649 because there is still plenty of room left for future entrepreneurs.

“There’s still 3,000 sq.ft. left and we are in discussions with some businesses,” he said. “I’m confident that it will get rented.

In a press release, Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux expressed his pleasure with the expansion of local business in the area and how Place 649 will benefit the community.

“We are pleased to welcome the new businesses in Place 649,” he said. “The rapid growth of the Township of Russell offers new opportunities for entrepreneurs and creates new options for our residents. It’s a great success for the whole community, congratulations!”