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Old Posted May 19, 2022, 6:11 PM
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Labroco Labroco is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Toronto
Posts: 675
Originally Posted by esquire View Post
Downtown land was relatively cheap for a long time, it didn't seem to generate much development action.

Success begets success. You build something substantial, it fills in a lot and creates a more appealing place overall, which in turn generates more demand for space be it residential or commercial. For instance, would the new building at Donald and St. Mary be going up if it weren't for TNS nearby? Suddenly surface parking lot owners start looking at more lucrative uses for their increasingly valuable land than renting out a few dozen parking spots for $14 a day or whatever.
As someone who owns both parking lots and buildings in the Exchange, I can say in our case, the idea of acquiring more heritage buildings is waning. It is challenging to fill them even at very reasonable rates. For government agencies to poach marginal $1,500 tenants and place them in multimillion dollar renovated spaces or new construction payed for by the tax paying owners in the area is disheartening.

The parking lots are not built on because there is really very limited demand. The risk of development is huge when there is uncertainty and lack of transparency as to what adjacent sites controlled by government agencies are planning. No one is quick to develop around the St Regis if plans are not shared. The same is true on Waterfront Drive. These sites are sitting in limbo for years. Freezing out parking on the old Y site on Hargrave still has not stimulated a development. The owners would rather just sit with the land, pay taxes and wait. The Market Lands called for proposals two years ago yet proponents either walked or were rejected. This creates huge uncertainty with the private capital required to make an investment. While the tax rebate is a start, I think some kind of loan guarantees is needed to push private development.

My vote is still to support education. More RRC buildings similar to what had just been completed has my vote. This in the long run educates, creates employment and adds to the urban fabric we all speak about.

The other issue is really where does development capital want to be? Unfortunately it’s a safer long term bet in the suburbs and industrial parks.
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