The Broadview Hotel, until recently home to one of Toronto’s last licensed strip clubs, was itself stripped of its temporary drapes on Wednesday when scaffolding on the corner of Broadview and Queen streets came down and the newly-renovated boutique hotel showed its buffed skin for an assembled audience.
The ERA Architects-designed project, which is being led by Streetcar Developments, will eventually be home to a 57-room boutique hotel, restaurants and bars operated by the team behind Enoteca Ascari, along with event spaces. While the exterior and mechanical aspects of the renovation are now largely complete, the hotel’s interior will not be completed and ready for opening until the spring of 2017.
“I don’t know how many times people said, ‘When’s something going to happen with Jilly’s?’” Ward 30 councillor Paula Fletcher said before the unveiling. Through various iterations, the 125-year-old building has long been the architectural anchor of the Riverside neighbourhood, but over that time its use rarely matched up with its position.
“So many people have wanted to restore Jilly’s to its beautiful glory,” Fletcher said. Streetcar Developments’ Les Mallins was just one of those people.
“We’ve had our eyes on the building ever since we became active in the area,” Mallins told the crowd assembled in a parking lot across Broadview Street as it waited for the lights to come on. Streetcar had, on multiple occasions, considered developing the property before purchasing it in 2014. By then, the building was suffering from a case of subsidence brought on by the strip club operators removing structural walls to maximize views of their stage.
“We had a crumbling 125-year-old heritage building with a strip club on the first floor that the owner wanted top dollar for,” Mallins said, “and we couldn’t resist.”
Shortly after sundown, when the lights started to bathe the walls of the red brick and glass property, it became clear why the building had been hard to resist. The Romanesque revival architecture, with its arches, insets, and crowns, gained added depth under the lights gently bathing the south and east facades. From the west, the new hotel’s logo, which had been painted on a brick wall, was visible above the neighbouring restaurants. The glassed-in rooftop terrace on the site’s northeast corner merged with the darkened sky, leaving all the emphasis on the brickwork. An hour earlier, when the sun was still up, its alternating stripes of glazing had been fully visible above the site.
The hotel’s crown jewel, however, is the turret that stands above Riverside’s main intersection like the crown of a queen on a chessboard. Mallins confirmed that it would eventually be home to a private dining space. In the evening’s light, beyond the streetcar wires, it became a public space of sorts: a pyramidal monument to an ever more vibrant neighbourhood.
The Broadview Hotel is one of many projects currently underway in the Riverside neighbourhood. Streetcar Developments have been an active contributor with Sync Lofts Condos at 630 Queen Street East and the 4.5 acre Riverside Square development. For additional images and information—including an extensive look at the hotel's striptease from under its scaffolds—visit the dataBase files linked below or the associated Forum threads, especially this page. You can always get in on the discussion there, or you may leave a comment in the space provided on this page.
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