The continued revitalization of Toronto's West Don Lands and East Bayfront neighbourhoods has been big news here at UrbanToronto for some time now. Waterfront Toronto has poured money into the disused former industrials areas, and today a study by economic research firm urbanMetrics presents the numbers to show just how the investments made by are paying off for the City.

Waterfront Toronto is a public entity established to revitalize Toronto's Lake Ontario waterfront with a primary focus on public accessibility, design excellence, sustainable development, economic development and fiscal sustainability. Since 2001 the orginization invested $1.26 billion in remaking the area: revitalizing industrial land for today's needs does not come cheaply. Today's report shows that the investment is paying off, and much more benefits are still to come. So far $622 million in combined revenue has been generated for all three levels of government. Let's look at the investments and payback more closely.

Pan Am Village, TorontoPan Am Village Rendering, Image courtesy of DundeeKilmer

Along with Waterfront Toronto's investments in the public realm—as regular UT readers will know—several private sector developments are underway in tandem with the public revitalization efforts. The best known of these is the Pan Am Atheletes Village, on time and set to be ready prior to the summer of 2015 for the games. Some of it will be converted to private residences after the games; this development by DundeeKilmer is known as the Canary District CondominiumsOther major residential projects include Great Gulf's Monde and UrbanCapital's River City developments while Tridel and Hines are prearing to launch Aqualina Bayside shortly.

The ongoing construction of these and other projects will contribute about $2.22 billion to the economy as well as $1.17 billion in labour income. As Downtown and other transit friendly neighbourhoods continue to expand and grow, public investments like those made by Waterfront Toronto are playing a key part in developing the desirability of Downtown as a whole. The economic benefits of the investments are not just limited to the land Waterfront Toronto controls, but they also extend to nearby neighbourhoods close by: investments in infrastructure such as parks, waterfront access, transit, flood protection and brownfield remediation are a boon to all. There are 44 recent and planned projects with a combined value of $9.6 billion in adjacent waterfront communities directly benefitting from WT's original investments. These projects will provide an estimated $8.9 billion for the economy as well as $4.7 billion in labour income.

River City, Toronto by Urban CapitalRendering of RiverCity Condos, Image courtesy of Urban Capital

“The renewal of Toronto’s waterfront is a great example of how infrastructure development and growth planning are bringing real benefits to the people of this region,” said the Honourable Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure at the announcement of the study's release. “Through Waterfront Toronto, our government is helping to create compact, transit-oriented communities, parks and public spaces.”

Queens Quay Revitalization, Toronto by Waterfront TorontoWaterfront Toronto's rendering for a revitalized Queens Quay, Image courtey of Waterfront Toronto

Waterfront Toronto, with it's huge number of projects underway, still has a long way to go to complete its final goal. When all is said and done the areas controlled by Waterfront Toronto as well as the adjacent communities are expected to hold an additional 26,600 residential units and will accommodate 21,700 permanent jobs. An esitmated $4.9 billion will go to all three levels of goverment and the City of Toronto is expected to recieve $105 million annually in property tax revenue.

Sherbourne Common, TorontoSherbourne Common Rendering, Image courtesy of Waterfront Toronto

If you would like to learn more about some of the projects Waterfront Toronto has a hand in, check out our various dataBase listings for several related projects below.