Already embroiled in a legal skirmish with buyers hoping to get their deposits back, Talon International, the developer of Toronto’s Trump Tower, has also caught the unwanted attention of the Ontario Securities Commission. In 2004, the commission excused Talon from some of the more onerous conditions (such as filing a prospectus) normally imposed on companies taking investment offerings public. The exemption came with instructions: Talon was to market the condo-hotel units as spaces to stay in or visit, rather than lucrative investment opportunities, and it couldn’t provide buyers with revenue or cost projections. The now more than 50 investors seeking to renege on their contracts have come forward to claim Talon did exactly that, flashing spreadsheets that touted the revenue-generating potential of the units—projections that haven’t been realized, since the hotel’s occupancy is hovering below 50 per cent. The commission says it’s investigating, leaving the door open for regulatory action. Whoever thought the tower’s falling glass days would be the easy ones? [Toronto Star]
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Another day, another pane of glass falling from the sky, this time from the Trump Tower at Bay and Adelaide. Yesterday around 4 p.m., a panel fell from the building’s 34th floor, marking the second time the tower has rained glass on the world below (“That kind of thing just happens,” according to Donald Trump Jr.). The latest episode is reportedly due to a worker with slippery fingers, who lost hold of the pane while it was being installed. No injuries were reported, though a few vehicles—and the Trump Tower’s reputation—suffered some damage. [Toronto Star]
Faulty towers: who’s to blame for condoland’s falling glass, leaky walls and multi-million-dollar lawsuits
Jan Gandhi and Omar Jabri share a love of big-city life: the people, the architecture, the fashion, the logarithmic bustle of human energy that comes from high-density, high-rise living. They first met as articling students with different Bay Street law firms, introduced by mutual friends. Together they moved to New York, where Gandhi worked as in-house counsel for MTV and Jabri as an intellectual property lawyer, and they lived in an apartment in Chelsea. Gandhi became addicted to flash-sale websites, filling her wardrobe with deeply discounted designer fashions. Flash sales are enormously popular in New York. She saw an underserved market in Toronto, so she hatched a plan to return and launch her own site.
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Though city officials insist it’s safe to drive under the Gardiner Expressway in a convertible, the concrete-raining highway just claimed its first victim: yesterday, a five-inch chunk dented a two-door Mercedes travelling near Yonge and Lake Shore Boulevard (no one was injured). Coincidentally, the previous (of many) sky-is-falling incidents in Toronto saw glass crash down on a limousine downtown. We know there’s no surefire way to guess when the next outpouring of debris will be, but if you drive a fancy car, consider yourself a target. [Toronto Star]
The city wants to be more proactive about all the glass-falling-from-the-sky mishaps like this, this and those eleven other incidents from the past year, but doing so is trickier than it sounds (actually, Toronto Life’s cover story this month looks into this very issue). Under Ontario’s building code, the city can’t force precautionary inspections of glass balconies—developers don’t have to agree to assessments until after the balconies have shattered. Still, the city is optimistically planning a database of all the condos with glass balconies built in the last five years, and will ask developers to make voluntary inspections. Ontario is also reviewing an unreleased city report that recommends stricter rules about the type of glass that can be used, though the problem with that is, even if those recommendations are adopted, the code doesn’t force developers to upgrade existing buildings to meet new regulations. Meaning the potential revamp could fix up the new towers of the future, but won’t apply to the buildings already up and shedding glass. [Toronto Star]