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Streetcar Developments buys heritage strip club

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The big news in Toronto real estate today is that Streetcar Developments has picked up the Broadview Hotel at the northwest corner of Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue in the city’s east end. The building is best known for housing Jilly’sthe finest in adult entertainment.

I don’t know what it sold for, but the twittersphere seems to think it went for somewhere between $4 and $6 million. My guess is that it’s on the higher end of that range.

The deal is interesting because there have been rumors circulating for years about its future. At one point there were rumblings that it was going to become a Drake Hotel on the east side–which does seem like a natural fit, and would be exciting for the Riverside area.

And while we still don’t know what it’s going to be, Streetcar–which is a condo and loft developer–has said the plan isn’t to turn it into residential condos:

“Although rooted in loft development, Streetcar does not see this building as a residential condominium project. We are in the early stages of planning, but our focus is to revive this building to a landmark everyone in the area can be proud of.”

That’s interesting. They also don’t deny that it could remain a hotel.

I don’t want to automatically assume that something along the lines of the Drake Hotel (a hotel, bar, restaurant and cultural community center) is the right recipe for this building, but I do think there’s an opportunity for it to become a significant anchor–even more so than Jilly’s–on the east side of downtown.

Earlier this week I wrote about the rise of the east end. Maybe this will end up as the establishment that really gives West Queen West a run for its money. But in order to do so, I think Streetcar will need to find the right cultural entrepreneur to partner with. You can’t fake being effortlessly cool.

Either way, I’m thrilled that this building–built in 1893–will be preserved. If there were any plans to demolish it, I would chain myself to a stripper pole in protest. The Broadview Hotel is a real gem with loads of potential.

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