Posh hostelry takes on the Ritz, Four Seasons
Excerpt from an article by Tony Wong – Toronto Star
Klaus Tenter is no stranger to the demands of the client with a penchant for being self-involved.
Now Tenter â€” known affectionately as the mayor of Yorkville because of his larger-than-life status in Toronto’s most upscale retail district â€” is set to battle his former employer from a new hotel at Yorkville Ave. and Hazelton Lanes, right across the street from the Four Seasons.
Make no mistake: no one thinks the 77-room Hazelton will sound the death knell for the Ritz or the Four Seasons, both giant luxury chains that are global brands. But it will give the most demanding clients of those chains an appealing alternative as the Hazelton tries to skim the cream off the top. And there are bragging rights at stake in being considered Toronto’s finest hotel.
Cohen, an accountant and president of private real estate investment firm The Dawsco Group, and Greenberg, a lawyer whose company The Starwood Group concentrates on loft conversions and mixed-use hotel projects, were inspired by hotels they had stayed at in their travels, including The Savoy in London, the Ritz Hotel in Paris and the Hotel Cipriani in Venice.
That’s a big statement from Wassermuhl, who was the designer of the Prince Arthur condominiums in Yorkville and the Cheddington at Bayview Ave. and Lawrence Ave., Toronto’s two most expensive large-scale resale condominium projects. But the Hazelton, he acknowledges, will be in a class of its own.
If real estate is about location, then to get a prime site at the corner of Yorkville Ave. and Hazelton Lanes â€” ground zero for the luxury buyer â€” is in the words of Wassermuhl, “incredible.”
To attract the Toronto International Film Festival crowd, the developers are installing a $2 million Yabu Pushelberg designed home-theatre that seats 26.
The walls will be covered in mohair â€” the same kind you’d find on pricey men’s suits on Savile Row. And service will include the city’s first private-jet concierge for guests arriving on private planes.
McEwan understands over-the-top. At the Toronto-Dominion Centre’s Bymark, he introduced the city to the outrageous $33 truffle-topped hamburger â€” which quickly became a favourite with the Bay Street crowd. At his new restaurant, One, the restaurateur will be responsible for 24-hour dining service in the hotel.
Meanwhile, the 16 private residences above the hotel will look like the grand homes they are, since they will be finished by custom residential home builder J.F. Brennan, the builder of choice for the Canadian establishment. Brennan may be best known for his controversial major redesign of the compound in Rosedale owned by Onex Corp.’s Gerry Schwartz and his wife Heather Reisman, chief of Indigo Books and Music.
The “starter” condo was offered at $2.7 million, while the penthouse, which included a regal 6,000 square feet (557 square metres) of outdoor terrace space, was priced at $12 million.
More than half a dozen projects have been placed on the market over the last few years, the proliferation of rooms sparked by a condominium boom that makes building them economically feasible.The profit from the condominiums pays for building the hotel, while the hotel makes some of its money from servicing condo owners. Meanwhile, the cost of building infrastructure such as parking garages and amenities such as a pool or spa are shared.
But in addition to a new Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton, there is also a Trump Hotel to be built in 2009 and a Shangri-La hotel in the works, giving the city an unprecedented supply of luxury rooms. Some analysts have warned that this will create a glut and drive down rates.
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