TORONTO-In the wake of a New York City press conference outlining an ambitious hospitality development strategy, Donald Trump and his entourage came here to celebrate the groundbreaking of the 57-story, $500-million Trump International Hotel & Towers. The mix of 261 hotel rooms and 118 high-end residences is a joint venture of the Trump Organization and Talon International Development Inc.

“When we open in 2010, visitors and residences alike will experience a unique, five-star property that will be unlike anything else in Canada and among the most magnificent luxury developments in the world,” Trump said in his remarks to those assembled at the 325 Bay St. site where the building will rise as Canada’s tallest residential structure. Also on hand joining Toronto government officials and project team members were Talon CEO Val Levitan and the firm’s chairman, Alex Shnaider, who called the event “a proud day” for their company.

“Our vision is on its way to becoming reality and our dream of a one-of-a-kind development for Toronto will soon be realized,” offered Shnaider. Levitan pledged that “everything about this property will redefine luxury.” A sushi and martini bar is slated for the first floor, whereas other dining options will include private rooms and a 30th floor restaurant delivering gourmet food and wine with views of Lake Ontario and the CN Tower. Additional upscale elements will include a two-level spa, high-tech business center and 24-hour access to a pair of chauffeur-driven Mercedes and similarly appointed vehicles. “No detail will be overlooked,” said Levitan, whose group retained Toronto-based Zeidler Partnership Architects to design the complex.

Assembled last Wednesday at the inaugural Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York’s Columbus Circle, the billionaire developer joined son Donald Jr., daughter Ivanka and COO Jim Petrus in officially launching the Hotel Collection. As detailed by GlobeSt.com, luxury will be the watchword of the strategy, which aims to create at least 12 ground-up developments by the end of 2010. The 5,400 rooms to be produced via the Hotel Collection brand will target the top 3% of the richest travelers bearing household incomes of at least $400,000.

Hotel Collection projects are already underway in such markets as Chicago; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Waikiki, HI; and Las Vegas, which is the largest of the group at 1,282 rooms. None of the projects will have less than 200 rooms, Trump relayed at the press conference, which was held to unveil the group’s broad platform, one extending internationally to such areas as Dubai, Mexico and Panama. It was not detailed whether each property will have a residential component or other mixed uses similar to that planned in Toronto, or how financing for the projects will be structured. In the case of the Toronto venture, construction financing of $310 million was arranged by Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich, an Austrian-based lender.

Trump and Talon officials predict a solid response to the Toronto operation, one which has already enjoyed a complete sellout of the pre-construction inventory of hotel and residential condominiums. A limited release of suites will be available later this autumn, however, at prices ranging from $900,000 to $1.6 million. The top four floors of the tower will be reserved for penthouse residences up to 7,700 sf and featuring libraries, galleries, and terraces. Floors 33 to 53 will also be residential and restricted to no more than six units per level. Features will include direct elevator access and oversized windows to enhance views.

Hotel rooms are being placed between the 11th and 29th floors, capped off by a quintet of five exclusive suites yielding a range of extra amenities and services. The 4,000-sf Presidential Expo Suite will have a media room and access to a boardroom and lounge large enough to host meetings and social gatherings. Other levels will provide studio and one- and two-bedroom suites up to 1,660 sf, units being touted as the largest lodging accommodations in the city. The Trump International Hotel & Tower is also being incorporated into Toronto’s PATH system, a 27-kilometer concourse that has underground shopping and dining and entertainment venues.

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