Union Centre | 298m | 54s | Westbank | Bjarke Ingels Group

innsertnamehere

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The skywalk is included in the existing Union Centre development, I believe.

Not sure how much Allied could really do with it, but given the $50 million purchase price and extensive decking costs that would be involved, they are clearly thinking something substantial. It should be a bit easier to do decking here at least as the old Union platforms have more space for support columns than further west.

Agreed it's likely a long term play. I don't believe Allied is even really planning on moving on the Union Centre project all that quickly, yet alone this.
 

AHK

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The skywalk is included in the existing Union Centre development, I believe.

Not sure how much Allied could really do with it, but given the $50 million purchase price and extensive decking costs that would be involved, they are clearly thinking something substantial. It should be a bit easier to do decking here at least as the old Union platforms have more space for support columns than further west.

Agreed it's likely a long term play. I don't believe Allied is even really planning on moving on the Union Centre project all that quickly, yet alone this.

Sometimes the audio on these conference calls is not all that clear, and the transcribed remarks from the Allied call may have mixed up the words 'fifteen' and 'fifty. From the actual Annual Report document, page 61: Property - Acquisition Date - Acquisition Cost (in thousands):

Union Centre Air Rights, Toronto...... December 15, 2021......14,814

In other words, $14,814,000, or very close to Fifteen Million dollars (inclusive of transaction costs).
 

innsertnamehere

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Sometimes the audio on these conference calls is not all that clear, and the transcribed remarks from the Allied call may have mixed up the words 'fifteen' and 'fifty. From the actual Annual Report document, page 61: Property - Acquisition Date - Acquisition Cost (in thousands):

Union Centre Air Rights, Toronto...... December 15, 2021......14,814

In other words, $14,814,000, or very close to Fifteen Million dollars (inclusive of transaction costs).
Ahh. makes much more sense given the constructability challenges here. It makes sense for Allied to own the rights here, but they can't be worth much given the risks and construction challenges to actually use them.
 

interchange42

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Inclusive of Skywalk, this will get you ~5 acres (Trainshed to Simcoe, Skywalk to the southern extent of the USRC)

View attachment 378362

FWIW, as '42' noted above; unless PE sees fit to correct, I don't see anything on this block (over the rail corridor) in the next several years.

I think Allied has a few buildings in front of it in the queue.
So, this transaction would only be inclusive of the part of the Skywalk over the tracks, as the east-west portion west of Union Station is already part of the Union Centre plan (as @innsertnamehere mention), so maybe something closer to 3 to 4 acres? (@UtakataNoAnnex no need to worry about the spelling 'Center' in something as off-hand as that report.)

This one will be in the planning for a long time I'd expect, with little of substance on it for a while to come, and anything coming out soon to be quite preliminary.

42
 

UtakataNoAnnex

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(@UtakataNoAnnex no need to worry about the spelling 'Center' in something as off-hand as that report.)
So I'm going to go with unintentional auto-correct then. Thanks for answering that! /bows
 

AHK

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So, this transaction would only be inclusive of the part of the Skywalk over the tracks, as the east-west portion west of Union Station is already part of the Union Centre plan (as @innsertnamehere mention), so maybe something closer to 3 to 4 acres? (@UtakataNoAnnex no need to worry about the spelling 'Center' in something as off-hand as that report.)

This one will be in the planning for a long time I'd expect, with little of substance on it for a while to come, and anything coming out soon to be quite preliminary.

42

During the Allied conference call, at 29:20 into the call ta question was asked about the air rights acquisition. Michael Emory's response was that it was separate from, and immediately to the south of the Union Centre property itself. The acquisition consisted of the air rights to literally 5.2 acres, bounded at the north by the Union Centre property, to the east by York, the west by Simcoe Street, and to the south by the far side of the rail lands.

The conference call is available at (registration required): https://streaming.webcasts.com/viewer/event.jsp?ei=1502398&tp_key=79ae14f408
or can be accessed from the Investor page of the main Allied web site.
 

interchange42

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During the Allied conference call, at 29:20 into the call ta question was asked about the air rights acquisition. Michael Emory's response was that it was separate from, and immediately to the south of the Union Centre property itself. The acquisition consisted of the air rights to literally 5.2 acres, bounded at the north by the Union Centre property, to the east by York, the west by Simcoe Street, and to the south by the far side of the rail lands.

The conference call is available at (registration required): https://streaming.webcasts.com/viewer/event.jsp?ei=1502398&tp_key=79ae14f408
or can be accessed from the Investor page of the main Allied web site.
Ah, okay, thanks for clarifying that.I thought the acreage had come from NL's approximation of the site on the aerial view that chews off a bit too much to the north!

42
 

Ciarlandini

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I find it quite interesting this project isn't on the BIG website, they don't seem to be promoting their work here much.
 

AHK

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This item, an article from the Daily Commercial News, is being cross-posted to both the Union Centre and The Hub threads. Perhaps Amazon may be the initial keystone tenant for either The Hub or for Union Centre. Two themes - first of all, Amazon already has a major footprint in three different downtown office towers (18 York, 120 Bremner and 40 King Street West)and is continuing to grow. Secondly, the office is not dead - Amazon continues to see the importance of their staff being able to work in a congregate setting.

Amazon Canada has inaugurated the newest addition to its Toronto Tech Hub, unveiling 130,000 new square feet of office space at 18 York Street to bring its total Toronto tech centre commitment to 350,000 square feet and counting.

Teams working at the Amazon Toronto Tech Hub offices include AWS, Alexa, Amazon Advertising, Prime Video, Amazon Music, and Retail and Operations Technology. More than 2,000 local corporate and technology employees operate out of the offices.

Besides the eight new floors now occupied at 18 York Street, called YYZ18, the Tech Hub fills five floors at 120 Bremner Blvd. (YYZ14), with two more coming later this year, and five floors at YYZ16 at 40 King St. W. YYZ18 will add three more floors next year, boosting Amazon’s footprint by 75,000 square feet.

“It’s both investing in the city centre and it’s about investing in Canadian cities and making sure that we have a great presence with really bright collaborative spaces where teams want to work together,” said Amazon Canada senior manager of corporate communications Kristin Gable, who offered a tour of the facilities the morning of the inauguration ceremony, which took place June 15.

At a time when some commercial developers may be reevaluating office investments in the wake of work-from-home and other uncertainty created by supply-chain, inflation, workforce availability and other disruptions, Gable said Amazon remains all-in on its Toronto commitments. Its work model works best with employers onsite a lot of the time, she said, although there is lots of flexibility built into company policy.

18 York, the QuadReal building hosting the newest batch of Amazon Toronto Tech Hub offices, is part of the Southcore Financial Centre complex.


DON WALL

18 York, the QuadReal building hosting the newest batch of Amazon Toronto Tech Hub offices, is part of the Southcore Financial Centre complex.

“When you go back to how we initially conceived the office back in 2015, it’s really about having an amazing place to come in to be with your team and collaborate,” said Gable.

“By having real estate, by creating highly-skilled jobs downtown, it’s an opportunity for people to be in the heart of the city and to collaborate with their teams.”

The 27-storey 18 York, developed by QuadReal, is part of the Southcore Financial Centre complex. It’s 100 per cent leased.

Gable said tenants are looking for top ratings in building amenities and features and 18 York offered a package that would enable Amazon to attract top talent.

The building is LEED Gold designated and features open work areas with natural light from all directions. Typical ceiling height is nine to 11 feet and the raised-access floor system provides under-floor air distribution with individually controlled diffusers.

18 York participates in the downtown’s and utilizes a system of cisterns for water reduction and management. Other features include an urban forest outdoor amenity and a 13,000-square-foot tenant-exclusive fitness club.

QuadReal is also seeking or has obtained BOMA Platinum, a Fitwel three-star rating and 99 in Walkscore. The front door is 180 metres from Union Station.

Indoors, the Amazon offices include multiple configurations of collaborative areas where the goal is for teams to be able to work together however they choose, Gable explained.

“You’ll see that we’re taking an approach with our tech hubs with a lot of agile seating, a lot of big training and conference areas, just to make sure that people can be together in a way that’s positive and inspiring and really to motivate them to invent on behalf of customers.”

Amazon’s Toronto Tech Hub employees include software development engineers, user experience designers, cloud computing solutions architects, sales and marketing executives, and speech scientists – working to “make Alexa smarter,” said Gable.

There is also a devices team that works out of a couple of floors of lab spaces.

Toronto is now recognized as the third-largest tech hub in North America. Gable said many of Amazon’s new tech employees come from good Toronto-area universities and colleges.

“When Amazon thinks about where we are going to set up a tech hub, where we are going to create jobs, we look at things like universities, is there a talent pipeline, and Toronto is world class,” said Gable.

Other tech firms invading Toronto have included Microsoft, Apple, Pinterest, Klarna, Twitter, Doordash, Ebay, Shopify and Google.

As evidence of the power of the sector’s investment influence, Amazon alone invested $6 billion in Canada in 2020, including other ventures such as its fulfillment centres.

Follow the author on Twitter @DonWall_DCN.
 

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