Yes, and they had loads of input from the councillor and the community. Even then, there are some details that annoy some people in the area. A Loblaws made much better sense than a hardware store. That wasn't in the original proposal.
The project mentioned on this thread is far more significant in scope. The land in question alone must be in the $125-150 million range. They are no doubt looking to push for the maximum return on investment.
Globe Lands Redevelopment, 444 Front Street West (RioCan / Allied / Diamond Corp)
RioCan, Allied and Diamond Team-Up for Mixed-Use Redevelopment Project in Toronto's Downtown West
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 12, 2012) - RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust ("RioCan") (TSX:REI.UN), Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust ("Allied") (TSX:AP.UN) and Diamond Corp. ("Diamond") have entered into an agreement to acquire the Globe & Mail Lands (the "Property") in Toronto's Downtown West for $136 million. The purchase is expected to be completed in mid-December 2012. Currently the home of The Globe & Mail Newspaper, the Property is comprised of 252,617 square feet of office space and 579 parking spaces all set on 6.47 acres of land forming part of the large city block bounded by Spadina, Front, Draper and Wellington Streets.
The site is a prime location for redevelopment in close proximity to Toronto's downtown office corridor and adjacent to a large and growing residential population. The acquisition will establish the basis for a joint venture (the "Downtown West JV") between RioCan, Allied and Diamond, with each of RioCan and Allied having an undivided 40% interest and Diamond having an undivided 20% interest. RioCan will have a beneficial ownership in the Downtown West JV of 43.9% including its 19.3% participation in Diamond's Whitecastle New Urban Fund 2. The joint-venture partners intend to redevelop the Property as a mixed-use retail, office and residential complex that will become a landmark destination to live, work and shop in Toronto.
RioCan, Allied and Diamond will act as joint development managers. Upon completion, RioCan will act as property manager for the retail component and Allied will act as property manager for the office component of the redevelopment.
Edward Sonshine, CEO of RioCan said, "We are excited to acquire, with our partners, one of the largest underdeveloped contiguous parcels of land in downtown Toronto. On this size footprint, we believe that we can create a unique shopping and recreational complex as a centre for the urban population that already exists and continues to grow in the immediate surrounding area. Overlaid with what will be I am sure, with our partners input, Toronto's finest integrated office, residential and retail complex."
Michael Emory, President and CEO of Allied added, "Not only does this joint venture highlight the importance of our ongoing collaboration with RioCan and Diamond, it affords us the opportunity to participate in a major redevelopment that will complement our current portfolio of nearly one million square feet at King & Spadina."
Stephen Diamond, President of Diamond said, "This is a unique opportunity to participate in city building at its finest, to create a lasting mixed use landmark of architectural and urban design excellence for the citizens of Toronto. We are very happy to be partnering with two of Canada's leading developers who share our commitment for innovation and quality."
I believe the price of $136M is $20M or so less than what Mattamy had offered. So yes, the market for this site has theoretically fallen.
For this neighbourhood, the change from all residential to mixed use is good news and bad news. To make this site a destination for Toronto lacks one thing - transit infrastructure. There is no capacity on the roads for cars in this area. The DRL going west woud certainly be advantageous to make this a local stop. Likely this site will be operational for years before the DRL shows up. The Traffic study for this proposal is going to be interesting.