Revitalizing One King West
By Karl Petschke, Exclusive to TorontoPATH.com
Like so much of our city, One King West Hotel & Residence is undergoing something of a transformation. Yes, the dynamic mixed-use hotel, whose 51-storey tower rises out of the iconic Dominion Bank building at the corner of Yonge and King, is in the midst of an ambitious set of renovations. But while this update promises to modernize the appearance of this “hotel to call home”, the makeover represents much more than the adoption of a fresh new look. Introducing a new focus on sustainability and expressing a keen understanding of patron’s changing lifestyles (and expectations), the renovation renews a commitment to the unique identity of this storied location, one whose rich heritage, coupled with a distinctly modern energy, position it at an exciting crossroads between past and future. I sat down with Matt Black, director of sales and marketing for the hotel, to discuss the unique challenges, and opportunities, presented by the renovation.
Constructed in 1914, the elegant 12-storey structure at the base of the hotel’s residential tower long served as headquarters for the Dominion Bank, and later as a branch for TD Bank. In 1999, however, the property changed hands and plans were finalized for a condominium building that would reinvigorate the distinctive location, and better exploit its ideal placement at the heart of the city. When the new addition was finally completed in 2005, a striking silver skyscraper affectionately referred to as “The Sliver” for its uniquely slim design, One King West Hotel & Residence was officially born. Along with a colourful history, this marvel of engineering inherited a wealth of unique architectural features. Among them include an imposing vault area complete with a 4 ½ foot thick steel door, as well as the Grand Banking Hall,which now houses North America’s longest bar and whose grandiose 45 foot ceilings now serve as an elegant venue for weddings and other events.
Guided by this same sense of renewal, plus a fresh focus on functionality and accessibility, the renovation now promises to bring the hotel experience up to speed with the increasingly fast-paced lifestyles of contemporary patrons. Navigation, for example, has been completely revamped, with a number of convenient electronic information kiosks beginning to pop up around the building, providing a welcome update to conventional maps and pamphlets. Visitors can also now download a smart new mobile app, which allows for easier access to information concerning the hotel and its amenities, in addition to helping to familiarize users with local attractions and city life. The building is also being outfitted with WiFi throughout, as well as updated audio/video facilities, which are better suited to corporate training and other presentations and events. While the introduction of wireless internet and electronic navigation represents an ambitious task for any hotel, such modern conveniences present a particularly unique challenge to an establishment whose architecture is now approaching its hundredth anniversary. “There is a lot of heritage, but that means a lot of surprises too,” Matt says of the renovation process.
In addition to taking advantage of the latest gadgets and technologies, minimizing environmental impact has become a prerequisite for forward-thinking establishments committed to staying contemporary, and One King West is no exception. With an impressive range of new initiatives that introduce cleaner technologies and increased efficiency, the hotel-condominium is also committing to the social responsibilities laid out by a progressively more environmentally-conscious society. Perhaps most ambitious is a complete reworking of the heating system, transitioning from a steam-based system to one that runs on natural gas. Such upgrades, along with the installation of better insulated windows, LED lighting, and revolving doors together provide a dramatic drop in energy consumption. (Continue to page 2...)
Last updated on 7/13/2012 4:49:32 PM