Independence Day. As our friends south of the border celebrate the Fourth of July, Toronto's skyline is readying for its own deliverance, with the Trump name finally set to be removed from the 58-storey tower at the southeast corner of Bay and Adelaide. Slated to be re-invented under Marriott's high-end St. Regis brand, the building will be renovated to fit the St. Regis aesthetic, with the hotel being temporarily rebranded as 'The Adelaide Hotel Toronto' until the St. Regis retrofit is completed.
Although never owned by the U.S. President, the branding of Toronto's Trump Hotel and Residences—which never exactly sat easy to begin with—was subject to growing scrutiny throughout Trump's divisive Presidential campaign and administration.
The luxury tower consists of 118 condominium suites and 261 hotel rooms, and was designed by Toronto's Zeidler Partnership Architects, with interiors by II BY IV Design. Developed by Alex Schnaider's Talon International, the tower has been operated under the Trump brand since its opening in 2012. By then, the project had been long in the making—with the eventual 2007 groundbreaking preceded by an aborted early-2000s attempt to launch the tower under the Ritz-Carlton name.
Still, the real trouble came once the 282-metre tower was completed. In the months and years that followed a glitzy opening that infamously brought together Donald Trump and then-Mayor Rob Ford, condominium sales proceeded very slowly, as material or engineering-related incidents—combined with the growing collateral damage from whatever Donald Trump said that day—plagued the building.
Appointed by artist Michael Snow, an LED light strip running the length of the tower, called Lightline, was not operational until 2015 (and then only occasionally), by which time the property was being shopped to potential buyers. That same year, a report that the tower's antenna was unstable caused road closures at Bay and Adelaide, once again putting the property in the spotlight. (No faults in the antenna's construction were flagged in a subsequent investigation.) Almost three years after the grand opening, a number of 'finishing touches' were yet to be added as most of the condominium residences that top the building continued to sit empty.
In the months to come, the public outcry—and petitions—to change the name of the tower reached new heights. In December of 2015, Councillor Josh Matlow called on the owners to change the property's name, arguing that it was inappropriate to have a tower named after a 'fascist'. As of April of 2016, meanwhile, approximately half of the project's condominium suites remained unsold, according to the Toronto Star.
Then, in the days leading up to November's Presidential election, "an Ontario court placed the Trump International Hotel and Tower into receivership after the owners failed to make debt payments for more than a year," the New York Times reported. The court decision came in the wake of an earlier legal dispute between investors and the developers, with the hotel buyers—who purchased individual rooms to be operated by the Trump hotel—complaining of consistently losing money on their turnkey investments, which were managed as part of the hotel's apparently unsuccessful for-profit rental pool. Above the 261-room hotel, meanwhile, the residential condominium suites were sold as homes.
By then, Talon was actively working to rebrand the project. In receivership, "Talon defaulted on a loan from an Austrian bank," the Toronto Star reported in March of this year. The loan was sold to San Diego-based JCF Capital ULC, who became the primary debt-holder—and then the sole bidder—for a property eventually sold for $298 million.
All of that brings us to last month, when JFC Capital ULC announced a buy-out of the Trump hotel's management contract, finally allowing a property that was by then known as "a running joke in real estate" to be rebranded. On June 29th, Innvest Hotels LP announced the acquisition of the luxury hotel from JFC Capital.
According to a June 29th release, InnVest will rename the hotel and residences under the St. Regis brand, which is slated to open in August of this year. Until then, the temporary 'Adelaide Hotel Toronto' will replace the Trump brand, which is apparently being stripped from the property at the earliest opportunity. "Prior to the full rebranding, the hotel will run as The Adelaide Hotel Toronto as the hotel undergoes a renovation of the lobby, guestrooms, public areas and food and beverage outlets," the release states.
As part of the renovation, the 'America' restaurant famously maligned in Chris Nuttal-Smith's Globe and Mail review will also be re-imagined and rebranded. The food, at least, was apparently pretty good.
We will keep you updated as more information continues to becomes, available, and the Trump signage is removed. In the meantime, you can find out more by checking out our associated Database file (the file name will remain 'Trump' until the St. Regis rebranding is complete), linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the animated conversation in our associated Forum thread.
|Related Companies:||Brookfield Multiplex, Eastern Construction, Enwave Energy Corporation, II BY IV DESIGN, JFC Capital ULC, LCL Builds Corporation, Zeidler Partnership Architects|