Sapphire Tower

Sapphire Tower
A rendering of the old 90 storey Sapphire Tower design in downtown Toronto.

The Sapphire Tower was a proposed luxury hotel / condominium skyscraper in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to be built by developer Harry Stinson. It would have stood at 196 metres (643 feet) or 62 floors. Scheduled to begin construction in Spring 2007, the previous 90-storey proposal on Temperance Street, which would have stood at 342 metres (1,122 feet), was rejected because of shadow and height concerns.

According to the Globe and Mail newspaper (February 16, 2007), after acquiring the property in 2003, high-profile Toronto developer Harry Stinson toyed with a skyscraper condo-hotel project for about a year, then withdrew it because, "It was not sufficiently sexy [in concept] to carry the sales."

On November 15, 2005, the Toronto and East York Community Council, a division of Toronto City Council, refused permission for the tower to be built on its proposed site. At issue was the inevitable thin shadow that would have been cast by the building over Nathan Phillips Square, site of Toronto's City Hall. The Council argued that it needed to "protect City Hall's public square." Stinson was to appeal the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.

The design evolved to its proposed height in response to the approval of the Trump International Hotel & Tower by the city council. Stinson intended to create a friendly rivalry between himself and famous developer Donald Trump for the tallest residential building in Canada. Sapphire Tower would have been 17 metres taller.

In early January 2006, Harry Stinson announced his intent to compromise with city council. Instead of a more than 90 storey building, the focus shifted to designing a shorter building of approximately 70 storeys, with a slanted roof that would further minimize the shadow concerns.

Sapphire Tower was originally to be operated much like Stinson's earlier hotel project 1 King West. Each of the over 1,000 suites was to be individually owned by its purchaser, with the opportunity of generating revenue through enrolment in a central management system.

Facing high levels of dissent from 1 King West owners at the hotel's lack of profitability, Stinson has decided not to offer the same system to Sapphire Tower purchasers. Instead, the building will now consist primarily of private residences, where the purchaser may occupy the suite or lease it out themselves in a traditional fashion. There will be a small hotel component to the building of roughly 200 suites, but they will be retained and operated by Stinson himself. With all the design and use changes, a new name to replace "Sapphire Tower" was expected but did not occur.

Second proposal

After numerous designs the finalized height for the second proposal had been approved at 196 metres (643 feet) or 62 floors and 58,993 m² (635,000 sq. ft.) in density. Construction was expected to start in spring 2007, with an opening in early 2009. Levels 2 through to 11 would have been office space, Level 12 would have been an amenity floor for residences, Levels 13-42 would have been 'house like apartments', Levels 43-60 would have been a long stay boutique hotel, and Levels 61-62 would have been the sapphire penthouse suites in the crystalline part of the tower.

On July 20, 2007, Sapphire Tower Development Corp., the parent company fully owned by Harry Stinson, was approved for bankruptcy protection. All future plans of development for the Sapphire Tower were stopped. Sapphire Tower Development Corp. is currently listing the development (including land) for sale to respective buyers in order to repay creditors.

See also

External links

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