The condominium property site at 1 Bloor may have been sold, but the dream of putting a high-rise building at one of Toronto's most prestigious addresses lives on.
Industry speculation is that Toronto-based Great Gulf Homes is the likely buyer of the property.
``They are an established builder familiar with the area and with a good track record,'' said one source.
The company will likely commit to developing some form of high-rise condominium, although the hotel component may no longer be a part of the building, according to sources.
Calls to Great Gulf Homes were not returned yesterday. The privately held company is one of the largest home builders in the Greater Toronto Area.
The controversial 1 Bloor hotel and condo project was at one time supposed to be the tallest residential tower in Canada.
Developer Bazis International Inc. said late Tuesday that ``a well-established Toronto developer has entered into a binding agreement with Bazis International for the One Bloor property with closing in mid-September.''
The Kazakhstan-backed company said last month in documents filed in court it had intended to sell the property on the southeast corner of Yonge and Bloor streets.
Realtor Anna Cass was one of the first in line to buy a unit in the building. She purchased a 1,300-square-foot unit, and sold units to many of her clients.
``This wasn't just about making a deal; this is where I wanted to live,'' said Cass. ``This was my dream.''
Cass says she hopes the building will still be completed.
``I'm just a regular salesperson. It took a lot of hard work for me to get ahead – and this is what happens. It's been a difficult couple of years.''
Hundreds of buyers like Cass had lined up for weeks in 2007 to own a piece of the property, which featured units priced from $500,000 and up. The penthouse was reportedly sold for $25 million.
Jamie Johnston, a broker whose firm specializes in condominiums, said he warned investors to stay away from the 1 Bloor project when it was first marketed.
``I thought it was over-hyped and over-priced,'' he said.
Developer Michael Gold stopped making payments on a $46 million loan in December. When the loan continued to be in default, a consortium of lenders tried to place the project in receivership.
The group offered $50.5 million to Gold. But he ended up selling the property to someone else.
The 500 people who bought units in the hotly sought-after property are also waiting to hear what will become of the $70 million in deposits held in trust. A spokeswoman for Gold said her client was not granting interviews.
However, Audrey Loeb, a real estate lawyer with the Toronto firm of Miller Thomson and the author of two books on condo law, says deposits by buyers are held in trust under the Condominium Act.
``The funds have to be in place with the developer's lawyer or another law firm so they should be safe,'' Loeb said. ``Not getting back your deposit is not a typical problem that we would have.''