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New Toronto Condos Planned for Chelsea Hotel

New Toronto Condos Planned for Chelsea Hotel

Oct 14, 2015
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Last week's proposal for re-zoning the Chelsea Hotel at 33 Gerrard Street West (formerly the Delta Chelsea) is yet another mixed-use development that underscores how powerful a draw the Toronto condo market is to property investors.

Following in the footsteps of the Thompson Hotel Residences , the Shangri-La and the Trump Towers, it looks like we'll have another hotel-condo hybrid - this time, with substantial retail as well - including four new Toronto condos across the site (rendering, looking up, below), significantly increasing density at this prime location.

Chelsea-hotel-redevelopment-architectsAlliance-lookingup

Chelsea-hotel-redevelopment-architectsAlliance-lookingup

Although the proposal itself is not at all shocking - the land is under-utilized in terms of density and the hotel industry is a brutal one (if the Pan Am Games couldn't boost sales at Toronto hotels to projected levels, what can?) - the timing is. Last week's announcement comes not long after the hotel's second re-branding in just a few short years and this past June's $12M guest-room renovation project.

One of the rumored factors behind the 2013 parting of ways between owners Great Eagle Holdings based out of Hong Kong and former hotel managers the Delta (who had run the hotel since it's inception) was that Great Eagle did not want to pay for the renovations that the Delta claimed the hotel sorely needed. One has to wonder if the reason for this was that the owners were already set on a complete overhaul of the site.

But if they were planning a large-scale transformation, the changes between 2013 til now seem odd - why the renovations this past June and why bother with an interim re-brand?

The hotel re-branded once already to the Eaton Chelsea after parting ways with the Delta and then again very recently when they dropped the "Eaton" to, simply, the Chelsea Hotel. Yet they remain under management of Langham Hotels International (owned by Great Eagle Group) who manages the Eaton hotel chain and so the reasons for this second re-branding aren't clear. Anyone who's gone through a corporate re-branding knows how much time and money it can take.

In any case, with last week's re-zoning application submitted to the City, it seems it'll be full-steam ahead on complete overhaul of the site if Great Eagle's proposal gets green-lighted.

Chelsea-hotel-redevelopment-great-eagle-holdings-rough-proposal

Chelsea-hotel-redevelopment-great-eagle-holdings-rough-proposal

According to UrbanToronto, Great Eagle has partnered with Toronto's architectsAlliance to plan four high-rise, mixed-use condominiums ranging in size from 46 to 80 storeys adding close to 1,900 downtown Toronto condo units.

Though most units are, not surprising, one bedrooms, there are reportedly 118 three-bedroom units proposed along with nearly 590 two-bedroom units. We'd typically love to see even more three bedroom units in a development of this scale but given the location - it's more likely to attract childless young professionals and renters - the weighting of unit sizes seems fairly well balanced.

Chelsea-hotel-redevelopment-great-eagle-holdings-outdoor

Chelsea-hotel-redevelopment-great-eagle-holdings-outdoor

The renderings seen throughout this piece are for the re-zoning application and so they're really rough; these are not accurate representations of final designs which are some way off. But knowing architectsAlliance slick re-design of the Thompson Hotel and Residences pictured below (which also happens to feature our favourite outdoor pool in the city ), we should expect a sleek, modern aesthetic but not a cold condo - they really focus on creating welcoming interiors that seem to flow seamlessly out onto the street.

550-wellington-exterior-allianceArchitects

550-wellington-exterior-allianceArchitects

The proposal also contains extensive streetscaping and greening plans which architectsAlliance is well-known for including their most recent efforts at Athletes Village in the Canary District, early planning model pictured here.

architectsAlliance-CanaryDistrict-Planning-Model

architectsAlliance-CanaryDistrict-Planning-Model

It's also too early to say what the retail plan will look like but I think there's a potential for higher-end fashion retailers (yes, I said it, on Gerrard Street) setting it apart from the mass market offerings of the Eaton Centre while providing more accessible price points than Bloor-Yorkille. That is, so long as the everyday needs of residents are also met with a few services and a grocers (how about a downtown Big Carrot location?).

Truthfully, though, the location is so well-appointed, residents won't have to stray too far to find everyday necessities and so there is an opportunity for a more creative retail plan on this site than we typically see in mixed-use developments.

What would you like to see happen at 33 Gerrard?

Lead image of Chelsea Hotel's entrance © Chelsea Hotel. All renderings of proposed development at 33 Gerrard Street West © architectsAlliance and Great Eagle Holdings. Photo of Thompson Hotel courtesy of architectsAlliance. Photo of model of Athletes' Village © architectsAlliance and Dundee Kilmer.