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Build Toronto Unveils Plan For 4 Underused City Properties

An agency created to breathe new life into some of the city’s underutilized properties announced four regeneration projects Wednesday, including a plan to develop a plot of land across from the Downsview subway station.

Build Toronto, which started operations in 2009, has been handed the task of revitalizing underused plots of land owned by the city and unlocking their revenue-generating power through the development of community, residential and commercial spaces.

The agency’s CEO, J. Lorne Braithwaite, announced plans to redevelop four sites, currently worth an estimated $80 million:

1035 Sheppard Ave. West – a 54-acre location across from Downsview subway station that could accommodate mixed community use facilities, along with commercial space and up to 3,000 low and high-rise residential units.

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154 Front St. East – This area near Sherbourne Street is a desirable spot due to its proximity to the Distillery District and the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood.

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260 Eighth St. – an industrial lot near Lake Shore and Islington

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4050 Yonge St. – a two-acre site near York Mills that the TTC is reportedly considering as the new home for its headquarters.

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These properties are already zoned and have been subject to various environmental assessments.

“The success of 21st century real estate development in a City like Toronto depends on successful public/private partnerships where we share, collaborate and behave like market-driven entrepreneurial arrangements,” Braithwaite said in a statement Wednesday. “I am looking forward to partnering with the business community to bring value to the City’s real estate portfolio.”

Now, Build Toronto needs to find partners to bring its vision to fruition, or it will simply sell the properties, the combined value of which are expected to increase ten-fold after redevelopment.

The agency is also mandated to create affordable housing units on the sites in the first five years and utilize green building practices.

These projects are the first of many future developments. The city has put the development agency in charge of a total of 31 properties.