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Wendell FOX

Downtown Plaza won't be city's tallest

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Here are some insider notes about the building thanks to Ed007 @ urbanTO.

- an 8 (numeric eight) shaped building

- west side is 80 stories

- east side is 57 stories

- length of building (east/west) is 45 metres

- depth of building (north/south) is 26 metres in the round parts

- depth of building (north/south) in the connecting area is 20 metres

- the turret on the corner will feature some kind of Spire. Not designed yet.

- 1070 units (up 12 from last version)

- ground floor is dedicated to front door and elevators and some kind of well designed courtyard that will allow for easy car access. There may be a little retail. The rendering shows round columns. They will not be round and will not be visible from the street. This area, according to Harry, will not resemble the Sheraton driveway across the street.

- floors 2-11 will be a parking garage. Parking may also go underground. 300 units will be provided. No office suites here anymore. The units above will accommodate hotel, residential and personal office units.

- 12th floor will be mechanical

- 13th floor will be the kitchen

- 14th floor will be the laundry

- 15th floor will be the skylobby. Will contain the registration desk, stores, bar, and a restaurant that will have a terrace, and floor to ceiling windows facing onto City Hall. Great place for a New Year's party if you ask me.

- 16 to 55 will be suites

- floors 56 and 57 will contain amenities for the building. Spa, pool, exercise room and the rest. For 1 King he has a huge water tank planned for the top of the building to stabilize the building from wind. He's trying to see if the pool on the 56th can do the same here.

- the roof on top of the east side on the 57th floor will be a deck (perhaps covered or open - they haven't decided)

- 58 to 80 will be suites and mechanical

- the base will be limestone (not sure how far up)

- they will use navy blue glass. Turret will be silver white. Again no idea on the Spire

- architects are Turner Fleischer

- building will cantilever 3 metres over the Graphics Arts Building

- they are talking to the Graphics Arts people about combining the two condo corporations so DTP plaza may have a Richmond address as well as Richmond St access.

- original building had balconies only on the north side. This one has both north and south balconies

- start date is now slated for end of year or early 2005 with completion for 2006 or early 2007. This one is easier than 1 King as they don't have to worry about an older building. They also plan to use a different way to raise the forms during construction, one that is more expensive, but goes up much faster.

- 1 fewer unit per floor on floors 17-55. The curved effect gives them a smaller floor plate which allows them to go higher with the same number of units. They have also reduced the number of 2 bedroom units and increased the size of most of the other units.

- they've sold 30% of the units so far. At 70% construction will start. At that point he will hold off selling the remaining 30% until the building is almost done. People are hesitant about buying until they see it rising and then jump in. Harry profits from this by selling the remaining units for a lot more. This has happened at 1 King.

- price has been raised to $199,000 from mid 150,000's for the building because of the redesign

- name is open for discussion. Wants a sexier name. Ideas people?

- building will be 245 metres

- Miller has seen it and like it

FYI the buildings that will be taller than it would be:

1. Trump International Hotel & Tower 4 309 m 68 2008

2. First Canadian Place 69 298 m 72 1976

3. Scotia Plaza [scotiabank Buildings] 42 275 m 68 1988

4. Canada Trust Tower [bCE Place] 28 261 m 53 1990

excluding the CN Tower of course.

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Here is an article on the rivalry:

The Harry vs. The Donald in downtown high-rise rivalry

JOHN GODDARD

STAFF REPORTER

The contest between native son and out-of-towner is on.

Toronto developer Harry Stinson says he will soon run teaser ads in newspapers hinting at a residential skyscraper to rival the one proposed by New York developer Donald Trump.

The ads are likely to show a towering blue-glass structure, a phone number and a Web page address, Stinson told investors late last week. A line of ad copy might read, "If you're interested, please leave your name."

"I want to build excitement," Stinson told more than 100 people gathered in the wood-panelled lounge of the Graphic Arts Building at 73 Richmond St. W., which fronts the proposed construction site just west of Bay St.

"Donald Trump is going to open his sales office in May and The Donald attracts publicity," Stinson said. "We're going to open across the street at the same time and piggyback on him."

The mystery blue skyscraper is a radical reworking of Stinson's Downtown Plaza, announced a year ago as a 54-storey condominium-hotel with a limestone and brick exterior, and the look of a grand hotel of the early 1900s.

The latest drawing shows two conjoined cylindrical towers, one of them rising 57 storeys, the other 80.

It is a direct challenge to Trump's plans for a 68-storey condominium-hotel half a block away at the southeast corner of Bay and Adelaide Sts.

Because of differences in ceiling heights and other factors, Stinson's 80-storey tower would not actually be taller than Trump's 68-storey one, which would become the tallest building in Canada and the Commonwealth.

"But it will sound taller," the local developer said of his own building.

At the city planning department, the downtown manager of community planning, Greg Lintern, said in a phone interview that he has seen no drawings of the proposed redesign and that "everybody understands that a review is required."

If Stinson does get the go-ahead, he might be on his way to becoming `The Harry.' He has no reality TV show to rival The Apprentice and no famous quip to equal "You're fired!"

But within two months, his condominium-hotel tower at King and Yonge Sts. is scheduled to reach its full 51 storeys. When it opens in stages next year in combination with the renovated Dominion Bank building, One King West will be the country's tallest existing residential tower.

Both of Stinson's projects also bring a new approach to the condominium-hotel. Instead of one part being a hotel and the other a condominium, like Trump's, Stinson's buildings would consist of condo units that can be rented as extended-stay hotel suites, run by a central management.

Stinson's redesign unveiling was for people who already own units in Downtown Plaza. So far 300 units, or fewer than a third of the total, have been sold, he said. With the condo market flattening and the Trump project about to go on the market, he also seemed to suggest a redesign was necessary in order to stay in the game.

"It's more expensive to build but a sexier building," he told the crowd.

In the new design, the building is slimmer and taller than the original. The total number of units stays roughly the same at 1,007, but with fewer units per floor.

The hotel lobby occupies the 15th floor and the units start on the 16th, instead of the 9th level.

"Everybody will be bumped up," Stinson told the investors, provoking murmurs of approval throughout the room. "If you bought on the 20th floor, you are now on the 40th floor, no extra charge."

"I think I have an equity gain," one investor, Jorge Pereira, said after listening to Stinson's presentation and asking a number of questions.

"I like the fact that it's a more interesting building (than the original). I think it will bring other people to it. I was on the 35th floor. Now I guess I'll go to the 60th or something. I hope he can pull it off."

The original furnished studio apartments of 275 square feet went on sale last year starting at $159,900, with two-bedroom corner units priced at $329,900.

The starting price for a studio under the new design might be $199,000, Stinson said

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