Change is afoot for the historic Riverdale landmark.
When it was announced last spring that the Riverdale strip club Jilly’s was closing down in the historic century-old Broadview Hotel building at the corner of Queen Street East and Broadview, rumours of a boutique-style hotel taking over, akin to The Drake and The Gladstone on Queen West, spread throughout the community. Suspicions were confirmed when real estate developer Streetcar announced the opening of The New Broadview Hotel development in its place.
The hotel, although similar to the ones on the west end, will be a reflection of the east-end community. Streetcar’s plans are more about renewing the space rather than changing it altogether, preserving it as a Toronto landmark. According to Toronto Heritage Preservation Services, since the building is currently under review for heritage designation, it has to be treated like it is approved. This means the structure will be preserved, and the building won’t undergo any major changes. Streetcar insists the surrounding area will maintain its special character, too.
“The east isn’t the same as the west if you think about the demographic, the vibe of the street; it has its own thing I guess,” said Aaron Knight, development manager at Streetcar. “We’re not really interested in taking that concept and transplanting it to Riverside.”
Knight says what Streetcar is interested in is revitalizing the corner of Broadview and Queen to complement neighbouring businesses. Those businesses are mostly independently run, and the owners are residents of the community. There’s a lot of interest in the development and ultimately the type of crowd that will be drawn to the new hotel.
“In terms of attracting tourism [to the] neighbourhood, people are very excited about it,” said Perry Lupyrypa, board chair of the Riverside BIA.
Streetcar is responsible for several building upgrades in Riverside, and in turn is part of the change the area has seen in the past several years. Lupyrypa says the BIA has collaborated with them since 2007 in different projects, including the Riverside Lofts, and sponsors various events and festivals.
Since Streetcar bought the corner property they’ve been working closely with the BIA, seeking out input as plans for development came into fruition.
“They do have some additions [planned], but the additions will be beautiful and they’ll keep with the character of the streetscape, and they’ll just bring the building back to its former grandeur,” says Lupyrypa, “The community is very enthusiastic about The New Broadview Hotel and the new tenants coming in.”
At the end of renovations there will be six full floors (opposed to the four stories in the front and three in the back previously) and a partial seventh floor, with a rooftop deck and restaurant facility. At the corner of Broadview and Queen, the changes to the exterior will seem minimal.
The renovations don’t stop at the face of the building, and as Knight put it, the building is “120 years of 100-dollar repairs.” The hotel will have the same number of rooms but will be renovated to have full ensuite washrooms. The new building will have two elevators and egress stairs, which are basically fire exits in the interior of the building.
ERA Architects are both the heritage consultants and the architects for the building alteration. ERA’s plans to change the building are minimal, and the changes are mostly due to safety and interior aesthetics. They’re involved with the plans for the whole building, which includes not only the hotel but also a restaurant on the ground floor. The restaurant tenant has not been confirmed.
“It’s not a common thing for the neighborhood to have such a large building with restaurant and hotel services, so I think that’s kind of an anchor activity of the community,” said Andrew Pruss, the architect from ERA. “It was always a landmark and the intention is to maintain that role within the community.”