Here’s what Ace Hotel’s Toronto expansion could look like

Here’s what Ace Hotel’s Toronto expansion could look like

Ace Hotel's proposed Toronto expansion A view of the proposed building from the north.
 

What it is: A proposed Toronto location for Ace Hotel, a chain that prides itself on art-friendly boutique hospitality. (Imagine the Drake Hotel, but a multinational corporation.) The new building would be located just southwest of Queen and Spadina, at the corner of Brant and Camden streets. It would be 13 storeys tall, with 130 hotel rooms on the upper floors, a lobby on the ground floor and a restaurant on a lower level.

Pedigree: The architect is Shim-Sutcliffe, a firm best known locally for designing Integral House, a daringly curvaceous modern mansion in Rosedale, currently on the market for $28 million. The local developer is Carbon Hospitality, a partnership that includes Kenneth Zuckerman of Zinc Developments and Robert Cooper of Alterra.

The view from St. Andrew's Playground, on the west side of Camden Street. The view from St. Andrew’s Playground, on the west side of Camden Street.
 

Most promising feature: Shim-Sutcliffe has reined in its modernist impulses for this project. The proposed exterior is mostly red brick, a deliberate nod to the area’s industrial past. (At a time when anything taller than a couple stories is built with a glass facade almost by default, that’s a bold choice.) Double-height windows make the tower appear to have eight storeys, even though there would actually be 13. In all, it’s a surprisingly modest design.

And here it is in model form. The black area across the street is St. Andrew's Playground. And here it is in model form. The black area across the street is St. Andrew’s Playground.
 

Risk factor: The project still needs zoning approval, which means there’s still plenty of time—and plenty of potential reasons—for the design to change. Just because some of the city’s best architects are on the case doesn’t mean this building will end up looking as nice as the drawings. But we can hope.

Likely opposition: Saint Andrew’s Playground is across the street, and Queen West residents may not be thrilled at the prospect of having yet another sliver of sunlight subtracted from one of their few green spaces. Also, the Drake and the Gladstone may not enjoy competing with Ace for cool-kid dollars.

The odds: There’s nothing obviously crazy about the proposal, and it’s in the right part of town for a boutique hotel and restaurant. It could definitely happen.