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This article was published 16/5/2017 (909 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
One of the city’s oldest hotels — the 107-year-old St. Regis Hotel — will be closing next month as its owners prepare to demolish it and build a new parkade/retail complex on the Smith Street property.
Ontario-based Fortress Real Developments Inc. purchased the hotel and an adjacent parking lot from the city’s downtown development agency — CentreVenture Development Corp. — in 2015 with the intention of demolishing it and replacing it with an eight-storey parkade/office/retail complex.
A local firm — SK Developments Inc. — has been operating the St. Regis as a dry hotel until Fortress was ready to proceed with the redevelopment project.
Fortress spokesperson Natasha Alibhai said in an interview Monday the company gave SK Developments its three-months notice in April, and the firm will be vacating the premises before July 3.
Before the hotel can be demolished, Fortress and Toronto-based Edenshaw Developments Ltd. — its new partner in the St. Regis project and the neighbouring 45-storey SkyCity Centre condominium/office/retail tower project — must first submit their redevelopment plan for city approval.
Alibhai said they’ll do that next month. Once the redevelopment plan has been approved, they will obtain a demolition permit and begin demolishing the hotel.
"We’d like to start by the end of August," she said, adding the demolition process is expected to take about six weeks to complete.
A spokesman from SK Developments could not be reached Monday for comment on how many people work at the hotel or how many guests are staying there.
Fortress’s original redevelopment plan called for a construction of an eight-storey building that included two floors of office space, but the office component has since been dropped. The new plan calls for a five-storey building with 10,000 square feet of main-floor retail space and 290 parking stalls on the other four floors.
Alibhai said the parkade will take about 12 to 14 months to build. The final cost is still being finalized.
She said the plan is to start building the parkade and the $200-million SkyCity Centre tower at around the same time — hopefully later this year.
"The demolition of the St. Regis will be the start of this entire project, and once we have that start date, we’ll have a much better anticipated timeline (for construction to begin)," she noted, adding the condo tower will take about three years to build.
Fortress was originally supposed to demolish the St. Regis and begin work on the new parkade by April 30 of this year. But CentreVenture agreed in March to extend the deadline for another year.
Although the partners can’t begin marketing the retail space until their development plan is approved, Alibhai said they’d like to see a restaurant on the main floor of the building.
"Any kind of restaurant use would be ideal because there will be a setback with some patio ability," she explained. "Plus, you’re only a block from the MTS Centre."