Sutton Place Hotel is Being Converted into The Britt
In its heyday, the Sutton Place was one of this city’s most storied hotels, the place to see and be seen, particularly for movie stars visiting Toronto back when Yorkville was the epicentre of the film festival.
But as years rolled by, the venerable building, which opened in 1967, fell into a state of disrepair. “It got a bit shabby, unfortunately,” says Mark Mandelbaum, a principal with Lanterra Developments.
Lanterra is converting the Sutton Place into a 41-storey condo, adding nine storeys to the top of the existing slab structure as well as an eight-floor podium that wraps around the base of the building.
The project has been dubbed The Britt, a nod to the primary source of its inspiration: the grand old luxury hotels of London.
Designed by Page + Steele/IBI Group Architects, The Britt will have 649 units, ranging from 334-square-foot studios to 1,292-square-foot three-bedroom suites. Prices go from $275,900 to $1.25 million. The project is on sale now and the revamp is slated to begin this fall.
Suites at The Britt will have engineered hardwood flooring in the living and dining rooms and den areas, and broadloom in the bedrooms. Residences also will have a stacked washer/dryer with ceramic tiling in the laundry area.
Kitchens will have granite countertops, ceramic tile backsplashes and stainless steel appliances, with a built-in microwave and integrated, slide-out range hood.
Bathrooms come with marble, porcelain or ceramic flooring, marble countertops with ceramic sink basin, and a five-foot soaker tub or shower with glass paneling.
Lanterra’s aim with The Britt is to restore the building to its former grandeur, paying homage to its fabled past while reasserting the tower’s presence at its prime Bay and Wellesley Sts. location. “We thought there would be nothing more fitting than to bring it back,” Mandelbaum says.
For inspiration and ideas, he and Lanterra co-founder Barry Fenton took their design team to London to tour some of the capital’s grand old hotels.
“There’s hardly any place in the world that has hotels as classy as London,” Mandelbaum notes, citing The Savoy, The Ritz, The Dorchester and The Connaught as prime examples. “That Old World service and classiness, you just don’t find it in most places around the world.
“So we thought it would be fitting to emulate that with The Britt.”
“But because we’re dealing with a condominium, not a hotel,” he adds, “we tried to figure out what components of a hotel experience we could introduce into this project so that residents would have a bit of that lifestyle and feeling.”
Interior designer Alessandro Munge, of Munge Leung, taking cues from what he observed on the London tour, has conceived a two-storey lobby space for The Britt that couples classic flourishes — a grand staircase, marble-faced portals and glass chandelier — with contemporary elements such as Harlequin-patterned black and white floors and white walls. There will be private lounge areas and a boardroom on the second floor.
“I want people sitting in the lobby — whether they’re waiting for a cab or they just want to chill — to feel like they’re in The Ritz or the Connaught Hotel,” Munge says. “That feeling is not something you can physically put on paper; it’s something that happens organically through design, if it’s done well.
“I didn’t want the interior to feel like another modern space that was done for any other condominium in the city,” he continues. “I wanted it to be special and to reflect the history of the property.”
On the outside, The Britt’s new eight-storey podium will have strong vertical lines and French windows, giving the building a street presence similar to that of London’s midrise structures, Mandelbaum notes.
The condo will offer high-end hotel-like services and amenities, including a 24-hour concierge who can book restaurant and entertainment reservations, housekeeping, event planning, grocery shopping and delivery, laundry and dry-cleaning, pet walking and grooming, as well as car rentals, a car share program and automobile maintenance and detailing.
“Basically it’s introducing a bunch of different types of services that somebody living in a hotel would be able to take advantage of,” Mandelbaum says.
The redevelopment of the Sutton Place will entail maintaining the hotel’s underlying structure but replacing the dreary concrete facade with a glass curtain wall system. Balconies also will be introduced, making the tower appear lighter and more animated.
The new eight-storey podium will wrap around the base of the existing building, helping The Britt to better integrate with its surrounding environs than did the old Sutton Place.
“We felt it would be a shame to tear down the existing building and start fresh,” Mandelbaum explains. “It had a lot of classic attributes, so we decided to just keep the building and add to it.”
Amenities at The Britt include a pet spa, party room with kitchen facilities, theatre room, fitness centre and spa.
The condo will have two rooftop terraces, one on the second floor with barbecues, fireplaces and lounge areas, the other on the ninth floor with an infinity pool, hot tub, additional lounge areas and an adjoining party room with kitchen.
“We wanted (The Britt) to provide a sense of class, serviceability and quality,” Munge explains. “We want buyers to know they’re really buying into a great story here.”
Location: 955 Bay Street
Developer: Lanterra Developments, lanterradevelopments.com
Architect: Page + Steele/IBI Group Architects, pagesteele.com
Interior designer: Munge Leung, mungeleung.com
Size: 41 storeys
Units: 649, from 334 sq. ft. to 1,292 sq. ft.
Prices: $275,900 to $1,252,900
Sales centre: 955 Bay St. Monday to Thursday noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Closed Fridays and holidays
The Britt isn’t the only hotel-to-condo conversion taking place in Toronto these days.
Other high-profile projects include the former Four Seasons hotel, which Camrost Felcorp is transforming into The New Residences of Yorkville Plaza, a 32-storey tower that will include 493 condo suites.
There’s also the King Edward Hotel, a 110-year-old property that Skyline Hotels & Resorts is in the midst of revamping, adding private residences on the third, fourth and fifth floors.
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The Toronto Star