The Sutton Place made it’s first major break into the mainstream news! I first wrote about back in November then again in January. Yesterday, The Toronto Star’s Susan Pigg interviewed Barry Fenton from Lanterra Developments and unearthed a ton a juicy details on the project, it’s Hollywood history and it’s 102 year old renter! Check out the article below:
It’s not often — not ever, really — that a condo developer gets to boast he’s not only snapped up one of the prime building sites in the city, but the piano bench graced by Liberace.
And don’t get Barry Fenton started on the bathtub where one of the world’s most beautiful women, Sophia Loren, soaked her worries away.
“I can’t keep it, unfortunately, but I saw it,” says the president and CEO of Lanterra Developments which yesterday announced it has bought Toronto’s landmark Sutton Place Hotel and will convert it into luxury condos.
Lanterra, perhaps best-known for its development of highrise condos and the boutique Hotel St. Germain in the once-barren Maple Leaf Square area, plans to resurface and renovate what used to be Toronto’s palace to Hollywood stars.
This is just the latest sign that Toronto’s film epicentre has now completely shifted south to King St.: Last month Cresford Development announced it’s converting the site of nearby Bistro 990, the beloved restaurant of the stars, into condos as well.
While plans are still being finalized, Lanterra hopes to add about nine storeys to the 33-storey Sutton Place, convert its 400 hotel rooms into up to 600 condo units and widen the footprint of the building at Bay and Wellesley Sts.
Where limos used to pull up and unload their precious cargo under the glare of cameras during what would become the Toronto International Film Festival, Lanterra plans to add restaurants and retail space while retaining many of the trademark — if dated — charms of the Sutton Place’s grand lobby.
Some 20 people who have rented suites in the hotel for years — one of them 102-years-old — will be relocated during construction and then returned after the work is done, said Fenton.
“Most times as developers we’re starting from scratch. It’s so exciting to find a project in the city, an iconic building, that you can help make even better,” said Fenton Wednesday.
“We like to be selective about our sites and you can’t get any better than this. It’s just yards from the downtown, from Yorkville and City Hall. And talk about being next to a park — you’re just a block away from Queen’s Park.
“If you were playing Monopoly, this would be like purchasing Boardwalk.”
Fenton, and Lanterra chairman Mark Mandelbaum are keenly aware, however, that this isn’t a game, but a key piece of Toronto and Hollywood history.
Which is why Fenton was fielding calls all day from friends and business associates grateful Lanterra plans to preserve the basics of the building that welcomed the likes of Michael Jackson, Robin Williams, and Loren to Hollywood North.
“We plan to keep a lot of the old theme, that British elegance from the ’70s, but add some modern elements to it,” says Fenton.
Lanterra is also considering adding a boutique hotel to the site, but is keenly aware that Toronto has seen a surge in five-star hotels — from the already opened Ritz-Carlton to the new Four Seasons slated to open later this year.
But as far as condos go, this is a rare find in the city, steps to the subway, shopping and the financial district.
The sales price won’t be disclosed until the deal finalizes in June, but Fenton ranked this No. 1 among the 10,000 condos Lanterra has built, from Liberty Village to its other Bay St. property Burano, slated to open later this year.
“Sutton Place is a very very famous complex. Even with all the rumblings that the market is slowing down — which I don’t believe — I think the market will welcome this project with open arms.”