Sam: No different than what we had on 133 Hazelton, and 181 Davenport. We were building on a residential heritage street, a one-way street, with neighbours right beside you. 1 Bloor is a pretty large footprint, it goes all the way down to 768 Yonge Street. We’ve done it before with a very tight space.
“…..the rumour has been contemplated.”
CondoNow: I’m sure you get asked this one a lot, but tell us the story of Stollerys, and how you convinced them that you are the right buyer for the site. Give us the story on that.
Sam: It was a 10-month process with the family, and it was about building rapport, building relationships, sharing the same values as them. They’ve owned the site for 114 years. They were going to pass the torch and who is going to be that person, that doesn’t compromise, and to really take it across the finish line and create an iconic building without any compromises. That was really what it was about. And it was about gaining their trust, that we were not going to cut corners, we were not going to compromise, and we were going to create something truly of the iconic stature, create a wow factor for the city, and do something great. And with all the competition, and all the different competitors we had that were also looking at purchasing and assembling the site, we won their hearts at the end of the day. And I think it was a matter of just sharing similar values.
CondoNow: And, have they given you feedback on your proposal on what they think of it?
Sam: Yeah. They actually showed up at the March 11 public meeting we held at the Park Hyatt Hotel, where we had over 400 people in attendance, along with the city. They stood up, took the mic, and applauded our vision, applauded what we had done, and actually made a statement saying how happy they were about the results, and their belief in what we’re doing. And they trumpeted their support of our project at that public meeting, in front of 400 people.
CondoNow: In other interviews that you’ve done, you stated your goals to keep building for the next 50, to even a hundred years. Do you have any vision on what the future holds for you after this project?
Sam: We’re going to continue to do projects that add value for communities. Anywhere that we can go to create value for the community where it requires a re-development that’s going to benefit everyone and all stakeholders, that’s what we look at. Besides, the projects for us are not as relevant as the importance of the projects for the neighbourhoods. I’m looking more at how important the project is for the neighbourhood and for the community, and that’s what inspires me to get involved. It’s a matter of really talking to the neighbours, talking to the stakeholders, talking to the community association, and saying “Do they want us to step up to the plate, and work with them in a collaborative approach to do something great together?” If the answer is yes, we get involved.
CondoNow: There is a rumour that I’ve heard, that you may keep the building as an operative luxury rental? Is there anything to that?
Sam: If we think it’s going to benefit the city, and we think that it will benefit the community by doing so then yes it’s something that we are looking at. We’re still studying options. And what we’re studying is: what is the best option long-term for the city? Or the Community? We’re not just thinking about today, we’re thinking about tomorrow. So the rumour has been contemplated.
CondoNow: Interior design? Who’s going do the interior design of the space?
Sam: I haven’t yet selected the interior designer yet. Right now, I’m focused on the architecture, exterior architecture, functionality, flows, design of the building, the retail, the underground parking, the zoning, and that as we go towards summer, we’re going to start to focus on, what I call the icing on the cake. Right now we’re focusing on the cake. The icing on the cake is the interior design. And I’m looking at many different designers for that.
CondoNow: So, is there anything else you want to leave us off with? Anything we didn’t ask you that you want to have to stated?
Sam: I think I’m very grateful to have an opportunity to do what I’m doing. I’m very grateful to be having the moral responsibility to be able to do this. This is so important for me. My heart and soul is in this project. This is a once in a generation, once in a lifetime opportunity to do something like this and I feel very grateful to be part of it.
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