Trump International Hotel and Tower (Toronto)

Trump International Hotel and Tower, Toronto is a mixed-use skyscraper in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was built by Markham-based Talon International Development Inc., which is owned by Val Levitan and Canadian businessman Alex Shnaider.

The building and Shnaider have been named as key links in a financial connection between President Trump and the Russian government.

It is named for American real estate developer and President of the United States, Donald Trump, a minority shareholder in the project. The tower is located in the Financial District, at 311 Bay Street, on the southeast corner of Bay and Adelaide streets. Construction began with the removal of the sales centre in September 2007, but the official groundbreaking was on October 12, 2007. The hotel portion of the tower was planned to be completed in late 2011. The tower was projected to be completed in early 2012. The building topped out in early September 2011, and the spire was raised on September 24, 2011. Trump Tower is the third tallest skyscraper in Canada (including spire), the tallest mixed-use building in the city and fourth tallest structure in the city. The hotel opened for business on January 31, 2012, and its grand opening occurred on April 16, 2012. Work on the top of the building continued until completion in July 2012 with the activation of two high intensity aircraft warning lights.

Trump Tower Toronto almost done.JPG
Trump Tower Toronto almost done.JPG

Specifications

Trump Toronto entrance at night.JPG
Main entrance on Adelaide Street
Trump Tower viewed from exec office Toronto-Dominion Building during 2011 Doors Open Toronto.jpg
Construction, as of May 2011.

The 65-storey (57 occupiable floors) Trump International Hotel & Tower is 276.9 m (908 ft) tall and is clad with a steel, glass, and stone facade. The building includes 260 luxury hotel rooms and 109 condominiums. The top two floors of the hotel section house a 5,486 m2 (59,050 sq ft) spa. It was built by Zeidler Roberts Partnership and is the tallest mixed-use building in Canada. Floors 2-31 occupies the hotel while 32-57 occupies residential.

Residential suites range in size from 207 m2 (2,230 sq ft), and were designed with upscale fixtures and 3.4 to 4 m (11 to 13 ft) ceilings. Suite prices started at C$1.2 million. There are 4-6 suites per floor. Residents have a separate entrance and elevators from hotel guests.

Builders planned to connect the building to Toronto's underground PATH network, however this plan was dropped because of the high costs associated with tunnelling under the city.

On March 23, 2007, Talon International Development Incorporated of Markham announced that it had reached an agreement with international bank Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG (RZB) to arrange C$310 million in construction financing for its five-star Trump International Hotel & Tower development.

Lewis Builds Corporation, a construction and development manager in downtown Toronto, was the construction manager for this project.

The building was built from a vacant lot (parking) surrounded by Scotia Plaza and the National Club.

Rivalry with Sapphire Tower

Developer Harry Stinson intended to create a friendly rivalry with Trump for the tallest mixed-use building in Canada with the Sapphire Tower. As a result, the initial heights of both projects were revised several times in an attempt to outdo each other, and Stinson's skyscraper would have been 17 metres taller in its last design. However, the Sapphire Tower failed to gain approval of city council and its development company filed for bankruptcy in 2007. At that time, the Trump Tower's design was also scaled back and the height was reduced because of the real estate market slowdown.

Issues and controversies

Investor disputes

The tower has been controversial since its opening because of lower than expected occupancy rates in the "hotel-condo" portion of the building that led to a legal battle between real estate investors and Talon International Development. As of October 2016, the following units (not including parking spaces) had been sold to investors:

Ownership of Toronto Trump Tower units (October 2016)
Owner Hotel units Residential units
Talon 211 74
Other investors 50 44
Total 261 118

Investors wanted to opt out of purchase agreements because they believe the sales tactics used by Talon regarding financial projections were misleading. The Ontario Securities Commission investigated the matter in 2012 and decided not to take action, but several investors sued Talon, its principals and Trump for various claims, including recovery of their deposits, damages for loss of opportunity and consequential damages, negligent misrepresentation and conspiracy. Talon counter-sued the investors who did not pay the remaining purchase price by December 13, 2012. In July 2015, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed two test cases, while finding that income estimates for the project were "hypothetical" in nature, but the judgment was partially overturned in October 2016 at the Ontario Court of Appeal, which held that:

  1. an agreement that had not closed could be rescinded
  2. for an agreement that had closed, damages against Talon for negligent misrepresentation were available
  3. Trump, together with two of Talon's principals, could still be sued for other claims that had been improperly dismissed, including oppression, collusion and breach of fiduciary duties.
  4. a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation was remitted back to the Superior Court for determination

In 2017 the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the defendants' appeal from the ruling against them by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Name issues

In December 2015, Josh Matlow, Toronto City Councillor for Ward 22, created a petition to rename the building, following Donald Trump's remarks during his bid for the Republican Party's 2016 United States presidential nomination, on the possibility of temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States. Matlow stated that renaming the building would allow Talon International Development to disassociate itself, and by extension, Toronto to disassociate itself, from Trump and his remarks.

Default by developer

In October 2016, JCF Capital ULC (a private firm that had bought the construction loan on the building) announced that it was seeking court approval under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to have the building sold in order to recoup its debt which then totalled $301 million.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice approved the request to appoint a receiver on November 4, 2016. The court allowed for its auction which took place in March 2017, but no bidders, apart from one stalking horse offer, took part.

See also

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