Easton’s revs up hotel developments and rebrands

Steve and Reetu Gupta.

Steve and Reetu Gupta.

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By Colleen Isherwood, Editor

MARKHAM, Ont. — For awhile, all the focus was on King Blue, the condominium project Steve Gupta of Easton’s Group of Hotels sold to Greenland Holding Group; and the 47-storey Dundas Square Gardens condominiums.

But Easton’s and the newly-named umbrella organization, The Gupta Group, still has its feet firmly planted in hotel development.

The current EGH hotel portfolio spans across Ontario and Quebec, consisting of 15 hotels under the flags of Marriott, Hilton and IHG.

Recent openings include the first Marriott dual brand in Markham. Easton’s spent almost $21 million transforming the former Chimo and later Holiday Inn property, into a 189-room Courtyard by Marriott and a 112-room TownePlace Suites with a combined total of 301 rooms. In addition, there are more than 500 parking spots, a third-party restaurant, 14,000 square feet of meeting space, all gutted and totally new.  

They are also spending $15 million to transform a Holiday Inn near Toronto’s Pearson airport into the first IHG dual brand, consisting or a 300-room Holiday Inn and  130-room Staybridge Suites. The existing 446-room hotel will be renovated one floor at a time.

The latest development, is the purchase of 3.2 acres at Yonge and York Mills, announced last month. The Gupta Group plans to leave 1.1 acres as conservation land, and to develop the remaining 2.1 acres into office condos, retail and a 200-plus-room hotel.

Gupta waxed enthusiastic about the potential of the Yonge and York Mills location. “There is a definite need for a good, upscale hotel to bring life to the area and fulfill the needs of people in the area.”

The property will include a small, limited full service hotel, like a Hilton Garden Inn or a Courtyard by Marriott. “This will provide more panache and pride for the area, as this is a very affluent area,” he said.

It will include meeting space and a rooftop lounge that will be enclosed in winter and open in summer, overlooking the Don Valley golf course and river. “The locals are welcome to enjoy the amenities, bar and fresh air.”

The retail portion could include a restaurant and coffee shop, small pharmacy or dry cleaners. The offices would be ideal for professionals, lawyer and accountants, while the second floor could be a medical floor.

The hotel will be nine storeys and the office condo development seven storeys, all in one building joined by an atrium. The building will be LEED gold certified.

“It will be a state-of-the-art building—our flagship,” Gupta said. “We will move our head office there, and it will be the first building with the Gupta logo on it.”

The Gupta Group — and a new generation

“The second generation is getting into the business, and the time is right to rebrand to The Gupta Group,” Steve Gupta told CLN. “The future of the company is in their hands.”

Daughter Reetu is managing director of Gupta Group; daughter Shelley has her CFA and is completing  her MBA; and daughter Reema is also involved. Son Suraj is doing his MBA at Columbia University.

“They will take the company to a different level,” Steve Gupta said. “That’s why we are rebranding after 36 years.”