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Rail Deck Park (?, ?, ?)

44 North

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They made it work for a cluster of towers on top of Hudson Yards in New York and I'm sure that space was considered maxed out at one point as well.
It seems like with Hudson there was still more buildable ground on the sides to make it work. Whereas this has a 10m strip along Front. Maybe I'm wrong.
 

kotsy

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It seems like with Hudson there was still more buildable ground on the sides to make it work. Whereas this has a 10m strip along Front. Maybe I'm wrong.
I feel like they could still figure out it out if they really wanted to but I could be easily wrong too lol
 

zot627

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Well, the people who actually own the site hiring a world-class architect is a peculiar move if they're only doing this as a cash grab but it sure is keeping things interesting!

From a developer that has never built one single condo, let alone 10 towers above the rail :) and didn't exist before this air rights debacle :)
What do you mean by "air rights debacle"? Here are some facts from recent media releases. There are air rights over the rail corridor. The City would like to acquire those air rights for an aspirational park. According to Mayor Tory, the City has apparently not been able to agree on a purchase price for the air rights. The City has the right to expropriate the air rights any time it wants at fair market value but has not done so. Where's the debacle? It would be wonderful to have a world class park in that area but the City has to put its money where its mouth is and so far they haven't. I wouldn't call that a debacle. It's just an example of having dreams that are bigger than your wallet.
 

W. K. Lis

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What do you mean by "air rights debacle"? Here are some facts from recent media releases. There are air rights over the rail corridor. The City would like to acquire those air rights for an aspirational park. According to Mayor Tory, the City has apparently not been able to agree on a purchase price for the air rights. The City has the right to expropriate the air rights any time it wants at fair market value but has not done so. Where's the debacle? It would be wonderful to have a world class park in that area but the City has to put its money where its mouth is and so far they haven't. I wouldn't call that a debacle. It's just an example of having dreams that are bigger than your wallet.
"Fair market value" in 2020? Wonder if the "value" went lower? Usually, the seller would want to see at "current value" today than five years ago. Wonder what the "fair market value" was in 2015?
 

zot627

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"Fair market value" in 2020? Wonder if the "value" went lower? Usually, the seller would want to see at "current value" today than five years ago. Wonder what the "fair market value" was in 2015?
By default the effective date of valuation is the date of registration of the plan of expropriation, unless the parties mutually agree to a different date. It takes three to six months from Council passing a by-law authorizing commencement of expropriation proceedings to register the plan of expropriation. The earliest date of valuation would be late 2020 or early 2021, so "fair market value in 2015" doesn't matter. Fortunately for all of us we're still in a democracy and there are rules that govern the process by which government takes your land. https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90e26
 

M II A II R II K

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Hopefully that’ll be the name of the GO station as well. Better than Cityplace and certainly better than just calling it Spadina.
 

TJ O'Pootertoot

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Fortunately for all of us we're still in a democracy and there are rules that govern the process by which government takes your land. https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90e26
...or your air :) But well said. There's a whole process of the government demonstrating they need it, the owners being able to appeal etc.

I suspect, as others have said, the real question won't be WHEN the value is determined but whether the City tries to/is able to argue the value isn't much - because it's only usable as parkland now - or whether the owners are able to value is based on it being suitable for development. So there's Hearing of Necessity and LPAT issues long before we start worrying about the court system, per se.

Between all that and the funding situation, the timeline for the park seems....long. Obviously no development could proceed until these issues are resolved either. Last we heard, the parties weren't even talking to each other but I wonder if the changing circumstances have gotten them even floating the idea of some kind of settlement.
 

zot627

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Just a question,
why wouldn't the city just claim the airspace as 'eminent domain'? what's stopping them?
As I have previously posted, the City has the right to expropriate the airspace at any time. There would be a Hearing of Necessity but the expropriation almost certainly would be approved. According to the law, they have to pay fair market value according to highest and best use for the land. In the post above, TJ O'Pootertoot suggests the value would not be much because "it's only usable as parkland now". Not true. OP395 designated these lands for future parkland, but was upheld at LPAT without prejudice to the current owner's development application. The City didn't argue that a park was the highest and best use for the land. They argued it was necessary, and that designating the lands for a public park was compliant with planning policy.

The owner of the land did not object to OP395 based on the park use. Their planner agreed that OP395 was one of the permitted uses under the existing secondary plan and planning policies. Their objection was that the City designated the land for a public park but had no concrete plans to acquire the air rights. Private owners can't build a public park, so in order for OP395 to be implemented the City has to acquire the air rights. The panel dismissed the appeal, but did it without prejudice to the developer's private application which will be heard at a 9 week hearing starting this November. If the private appeal is upheld, which it likely will be, the City can still go ahead with Rail Deck Park but they will have to move quickly.

The minute the City initiates expropriation proceedings, there's no turning back. They know they will be exposed to significant financial risk. Their position in the January 2020 staff report suggests they know this and have decided to test the waters with the three acre parcel east of Spadina. They will most likely end up paying a lot for that land but at three acres it won't break the bank. Combined with Oxford's park on the east side of Blue Jays Way, it will give them 7 acres of parkland in that area.
 

TJ O'Pootertoot

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In the post above, TJ O'Pootertoot suggests the value would not be much because "it's only usable as parkland now". Not true.
Very well described!

Just to be clear, I was not making that argument. I was saying others here have tried to argue, effectively, now that the city won that point on parkland, that they can get the land for cheaper. I was writing that sardonically and agree with you that this is wishful thinking, at best.

(and in reference to the question you were answering, we obviously have a system for expropriation but it's not identical to the USA concept of "eminent domain")
 
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lenaitch

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Rules differ between nations but expropriation is the Canadian equivalent of eminent domain. 'Condemnation' is another term. Regardless of the variations in process and terms, fair compensation to the owner is a common requirement.
 

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