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Old March 22nd, 2006, 02:37 PM   #1
KGB
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L Tower | T/O | 58 st | 205 m | St. Lawrence





Developer: Cityzen Development Group, Castlepoint Numa, Fernbrook Homes
58 storeys

From today's Star........

Theatre is no lame bird
Mar. 22, 2006. 01:00 AM
RICHARD OUZOUNIAN
THEATRE CRITIC

It was supposed to be "one brief shining moment," but it went on for 47 years.

When the Hummingbird Centre closes for 20 months of renovations next year, its CEO, Daniel D. Brambilla, revealed yesterday that the last show to play there will be the one that opened the building: Camelot.

Back on the night of Oct. 1, 1960, it was Richard Burton who played King Arthur in the Broadway-bound musical. On June 25, 2007, Michael York will be starring as the monarch of the Round Table.

"I like the idea of one era ending the same way it began," said the expansive Brambilla. "Think of it as curtain going up, curtain coming down."

And when the new era of the Hummingbird Centre begins, what can the people of Toronto expect to find?

Last November, Brambilla outlined to the Toronto Star his plans for a $75 million, 40,000-square-foot multicultural and tourism facility that would be joined to the 49-storey condominium tower Daniel Libeskind has designed to soar over the existing theatre.

At this point in time, Brambilla still isn't 100 per cent certain he can get all the permits and money he needs in place by the December deadline for the project, but he seems decidedly optimistic and surprisingly calm.

"Look, when I came here three years ago, everybody thought this theatre was finished. The opera and ballet were moving out, people thought the place was a white elephant, Mel Lastman and his boys wanted to tear it down."

Brambilla wipes the past away with his hand. "That's all gone now. I've got a clean canvas to work with. Everything is possible.

"We've turned the story around from almost demolishing a historical building to not only saving it but making it prosper."

The 55-year-old ex-New Yorker was best known as a tough show business lawyer and a member of Garth Drabinsky's Livent team before coming to the Hummingbird in 2002, and he still can play that card when needed.

"I'm treating this like a business. We're a not-for-profit charitable organization, but I don't think of it that way. I want to be aggressive."

And he revealed the depth of that aggression when he announced he would be bringing in the Radio City Rockettes for next year's Christmas show, adding a major new competitive attraction to a holiday landscape previously dominated by the National Ballet's Nutcracker.

"They're coming for 84 performances over seven weeks and the advance sales are huge. Huge! I couldn't be happier. Yes I know it's called The Nutcracker Killer in every other city it's ever been in. Before I announced the idea, I had the ballet in here and said `I'm bringing the Rockettes in, and I want to see if we can work together. I want this theatre to thrive, but not at your expense.'"

Brambilla admits he's got "the hardest job in Toronto, trying to raise $60 million by December." (The other $15 million comes from the developer for the right to build the condo tower.) "But even if the full plan doesn't materialize, we'll be able to run the theatre and run it well."

Brambilla's agenda is to de-emphasize the traditional programming of the past and look closely at Toronto today.

"The whole push out into the multicultural community is where this building is going. It's the wave of the future."

He addresses the fact that "for many years this was where the white establishment went. This was the home of the opera, the ballet. Now we're inviting people of all races, all colours, to bring their shows here to his iconic building ... we're going to build a new, exciting centre for this city together."

Sure, you could call it a crazy idealistic dream, but then, come to think of it, so was Camelot.

Last edited by Marcanadian; June 17th, 2014 at 09:43 PM.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 01:04 AM   #2
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I can't wait for this.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 02:55 AM   #3
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Not to be a pesimist, but what happens if he fails in getting the $75 Million together? Is his plan to make just a scaled down version of the project- ie: just the cultural element-? Or is that what would take up most of the amount raised?

I am excited to hear about his positiveness regarding acquiring the monies, so I guess I will wait and see what will happen over the course of the next few months. Would be great to have this move forward and bring some added life to that corner of the city-

That said, how do you think this project will fair if it gets off the ground and is built? Is it something that will be success from the get-go, will it take time for it to be success, or will it be a project that will require millions in subsidies to keep open and then ultimately close?

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Old March 23rd, 2006, 03:04 AM   #4
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"Is his plan to make just a scaled down version of the project- ie: just the cultural element-? Or is that what would take up most of the amount raised? "


The $75 million IS just the cultural element....the big condo tower is a completely separate project, which I'm sure is more than $75 million itself.





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Old March 23rd, 2006, 03:16 AM   #5
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I see! So the condo developer gives the Hummingbird Centre $15 million for the rights to build a condo, but puts up their own money, obviously through sales towards building the condo, to pay for the design and build the condo! Aha, its all coming clear now.

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Old March 23rd, 2006, 03:57 AM   #6
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im really hoping this project becomes reality. I love the design of the tower...not so sure about the "boot" but hey its all good..i guess lol
And i cant see the tower costing any less then $100 Million
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 05:11 AM   #7
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Maybe Brambilla should go on his hands and knees to Ken Thompson. He loves to spend on Toronto and probably carries 60 million around in his back pocket.
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Old March 24th, 2006, 03:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p5archit
I see! So the condo developer gives the Hummingbird Centre $15 million for the rights to build a condo, but puts up their own money, obviously through sales towards building the condo, to pay for the design and build the condo! Aha, its all coming clear now.

p5
The $15 million is for the "air rights" since the developer of the condo is apparently not buying the lot that the Hummingbird sits on. If a developer had to buy that lot, it would probably be, I'm guessing about $40 million, so they are coming out pretty well. The condo tower will probably cost well in excess of $100 million in addition to the $75 million for the public part of the facility. I think the condos will sell. The question is can the other $60 million be raised by Brambilla.
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Old March 24th, 2006, 06:28 PM   #9
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DrT. Thanks for the explanation. I could see the condo units selling without a hitch, but raising the money for another cultural institution is going to be a hard sell- $60 million is huge!! Good luck to him.

Still no one seems to want to venture an opinion with regards to the success of the cultural element of the project.

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Old March 24th, 2006, 07:20 PM   #10
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Praying for the tower, but I really don't get the Multi Cultural thing at the base. What will it have? Displays showing people from different cultures and colors eating, crossing the street, parenting??! What does it mean? I could really care less for that. I already have access to that throughout the city itself.

I pray it is not done by the same people who did our Olympic Vancouver thing in Turin. That was a joke. And a bad joke at that.
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Old March 24th, 2006, 08:25 PM   #11
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"I really don't get the Multi Cultural thing at the base. What will it have? Displays showing people from different cultures and colors eating, crossing the street, parenting??! "


Well, uh no...I don't think so....at least I would hope not. The city has better creative abilites and talent than that.

People are always claiming that Toronto doesn't market itself enough. One of the major assets is the multiculturalism. The facility will be more of a multi-purpose thing...an arts lab as well as a showcase and information hub, on top of it being just a live perfomance venue. Seeing as it already has a performing arts facility, it will be used to showcase various cultural performances, highlighting the various cultures, as well as marketing all the other cultural events and areas of the city.

The location is perfect...already well-known and can draw many people...especially tourists. Now there can be a sort of "headquarters" to bring some kind of cohesion to the multicultural aspect of the city, which up until now, was more of a word-of-mouth thing. People come here specifically because it has a reputation for it's multiculturalism, yet many people will miss a lot of it, because there isn't really a comprehensive guide to it.

The centre is owned and operated by the city, but it has always been a self-sufficient entity. With the loss of two of it's major tennents, it will have to reinvent itself or die. The city might as well take the oportunity to keep it vital, as well as do a much better job of promoting an important part of what makes the city so great.

The one thing that does bother me, is any possible architectural defacing of what is a great modern building. $75 million seems like a lot of money for only 40,000 sqft, and in a building that really is already in great shape. I really don't know what is supposed to cost that much money. As long as they don't destroy the architectural integrity of the building, I really don't care.

From the renderings, it doesn't seem "too" bad. The condo tower is quite striking, and does seem to keep itself separate from the performance hall.






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Old March 24th, 2006, 08:27 PM   #12
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is there a rendering of this tower somewhere?
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Old March 24th, 2006, 08:37 PM   #13
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Oh yea...sorry.....















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Old March 24th, 2006, 09:35 PM   #14
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my question is..what kind of cladding are they going to use to get that bright white appearence?
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Old March 24th, 2006, 09:41 PM   #15
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uhhhhh...thats not bright white. Its more sky blue and they are going to use glass if I had to guess.
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Old March 24th, 2006, 10:06 PM   #16
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that is one dramatically different tower. I don't like it. I'm all for bold design (I love the ROM crystal), but this looks like a ski jump, or a boot from the Jetsons. And what is that circular cutout with orange zigzigs in the foot part of the building? Is this really the design they plan to move forward with?
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Old March 24th, 2006, 10:39 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rise_against
uhhhhh...thats not bright white. Its more sky blue and they are going to use glass if I had to guess.
skyblue...bright white WHATEVER!!! yes glass..ofcourse, i just dont understand how they are going to get it to look like that...in the rendering it looks like the tower is covered in white, grey and light blue painted metal..not glass that would be reflective looking.
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Old March 24th, 2006, 11:17 PM   #18
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Ah...I've had enough of renderings, and how they sometimes completely mis-represent the finished product...I'm now wary and jaded of renderings.

But, what I see I like. I think it has a very sophisticated avante-guarde appeal. And since I'm an elitist, the fact most people don't like it just reinforces that. LOL


I think it's quite original and non-derivative. And I think the city does well by having some of this. I also love all the more subtle, fitting in, quality stuff that Clewes is doing as well...it makes for a great mix.






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Old March 26th, 2006, 01:19 AM   #19
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I especially love how well the base meets with Yonge street. This will be a true landmark tower for Toronto, if we get it off the ground.

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Old March 28th, 2006, 11:15 PM   #20
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It will be interesting to see how they build it if it goes ahead, there really isn't much land there.
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