The massive building boom in Toronto has meant that underutilized sites and parking lots have been replaced by new developments that have added to the vibrancy of the city. Prime locations throughout the city are being re-purposed in order to maximize their economic, social and cultural potential. One plot of land that has escaped redevelopment so far is the huge 11-acre LCBO headquarters on the waterfront. Located just south of the Gardiner Expressway, the provincially-owned lands are currently occupied by LCBO's flagship Queen's Quay retail store at 2 Cooper Street, accompanying warehouse at 43 Freeland Street, LCBO head office at 55 Lake Shore Boulevard East, a large parking lot and a small park.
After signalling the intention to do so many times, these lands have now officially been put up for sale by the province. A Request For Proposals (RFP) has been issued with the hope that the ideal waterfront location of the lands will be attractive for buyers and result in significant revenue for the province. The money received from the sale will be directed towards the Trillium Trust, which will fund a variety of transit and road infrastructure projects throughout Ontario. The sale will be the first major initiative to contribute money to the Trillium Trust.
"Our government made a commitment to look at our real estate assets and see if we're getting the maximum economic value out of them," said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure. "If it makes fiscal sense to sell an asset and reinvest the money in projects that benefit Ontarians, we promise to do that."
A requirement of the RFP is that a new head office for the LCBO will be provided by the developer. One of the other conditions of sale outlines that the existing retail store, which currently serves the downtown core, must remain located in the Queen's Quay area.
The site is sandwiched between the massive 1-7 Yonge development proposal to the west, which promises to add even more density to the area, and the Loblaws store to the east.
"This location is one of the most valuable properties in the downtown Toronto area," said Brad Duguid. "It has significantly appreciated in value over the years and many developers are interested in this site."
Part of the buildings on site may be saved due to a heritage listing, though the City of Toronto alone cannot designate a provincially-owned building. It is expected that the sale of the site will be finalized by next summer.
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