Toronto International Film Festival 2011

The healthy Canadian condo market and a strong foreign production business has helped alter the Toronto skyline. Four new luxury hotel-condominium projects — the Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences, the Residences, the Ritz-Carlton Toronto, the Trump Intl. Hotel & Tower and the Shangri-La Toronto — have opened or are readying to bow in 2012. Occupying the upper floors of skyscraping hotels — which offer upscale amenities to property buyers — these projects have already attracted international investors and interest from showbizzers.

Ontario’s provincial government has restricted low-rise development in the greater Toronto area — hence the shift to high-rise developments. The luxury segment is just one aspect of this building boom fueled in part by Canada’s stable economy. According to research firm Urbanation, Toronto’s condominium market is quite robust with 18,000 units selling every year over the last five years, while 2011’s second quarter sales smashed all previous records.

“Toronto is the largest condominium market in North America,” says Stephen Price, chief operating officer of Graywood Developments, the firm behind the tower that houses both the Ritz-Carlton hotel and the 159 units on the 22nd to 52nd floors of the downtown Toronto property. The Ritz Residences are almost 80% sold, says Price, and the average cost of each remaining unit is approximately $2.5 million. Remaining inventory is going at $1,150 per square foot, says Price. Owners have access to all the hotel’s features — from the spa to fitness center to concierge — and a separate, private sky lobby and dedicated elevators.

At the Trump Intl. Hotel & Tower, occupying the second-tallest building in Canada and slated to open in November, a private lobby on the 32nd floor is the entry point to 118 residences. Here, too, residents can take advantage of the hotel’s plush features from an 18,000-square-foot spa to a saltwater lap pool on the 32nd floor to a private elevator that connects to the hotel’s public areas.

“The project was 10 years in the making,” says general manager Mickael Damelincourt, noting that the condominium units will be available for occupancy in early 2012. Units can be purchased furnished or can be customized completely to an owner’s specs.

In the construction pipeline: the Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences comprises two towers: A 26-story building with 100 units, while a second 55-story tower holds both 100 units and a 253-room Four Seasons Hotel. In May, the 9,038-square-foot penthouse sold to an undisclosed international buyer for $28 million, the most expensive condo sale to date in Canada.

Expect the 66-story Shangri-La Toronto to be completed in 2012 as well. The lower 17 floors will be home to the Shangri-La Hotel (there is a sister property in Vancouver) while the upper floors will have 287 residences and 83 larger private estates on the 50th through 60th floors.

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