The Province of Ontario has announced the sale of the LCBO head office lands on Toronto's waterfront. A $260 million deal will see Menkes Developments—in partnership with Greystone Managed Investments and Triovest Realty Advisors—redevelop the 11.5 acre waterfront site. Standing on the small parkette at the east end of the LCBO Lands, Provincial Finance Minister Charles Sousa was on hand to sketch out the preliminary plans, calling the project "an important step forward" for Ontario.

Charles Sousa (podium) celebrates the news, image by Stefan Novakovic

As part of the project's first phase, a 600,000 ft², 24-storey retail and office tower will house the new LCBO headquarters at 100 Queens Quay East. Designed by B+H Architects, the project will be anchored by a showpiece 25,000 ft² LCBO outlet, with 200,000 ft² devoted to LCBO offices. Over the eleven acres of the site there will be a total of 300,000 ft² of retail space, residential buildings, and a "two-acre park located on the north side of Queens Quay East, between Freeland and Cooper Streets."

Rendering of the Phase One tower, image courtesy of Menkes

Replacing the parking lot and small green space in the southeast corner of the site, the phase one tower (seen above) will front Queens Quay, directly neighbouring the Loblaws store to its east, with the new park planned to its west. The staggered redevelopment plan will allow the 376,000 ft² LCBO warehouse and retail store—at the west end of the site—to continue operating as this first phase gets underway.  

The Lower Yonge Precinct (LCBO in purple), the east half of LCBO lands will be developed first, image courtesy City of Toronto

Taken together, the 11.5-acre LCBO lands include the head office at 55 Lake Shore Boulevard, the warehouse at 43 Freeland street—and adjoining land—and the store at 2 Cooper Street, as well as the small parkette to its east. Falling within the purview of the City's and Waterfront Toronto's Lower Yonge Precinct master plan (above), the area is slated to be developed as a high-density, mixed-use cluster (illustrated below). 

A preliminary vision for the Lower Yonge Precinct illustrates the density planned, image courtesy City of Toronto/Waterfront TO

While the full scope of Menkes' long-term redevelopment plans is expected to be revealed over the coming months, the Province has so far announced that new development on the site will aim for LEED Platinum certification. "LEED Gold is a minimum goal here," said Sousa, emphasizing a commitment to sustainability. While the warehouse—and current store—will remain in operation for the time being, a warehouse relocation plan has not yet been developed. Nonetheless, Sousa stressed that a new LCBO warehouse will be relatively "centrally located."

An aerial view of the Lower Yonge Precinct, image courtesy of City of Toronto / Waterfront Toronto

The sale of the LCBO lands comes as part of the provincial government's plan to fund large-scale infrastructure investments through real estate transactions. In part through the strategic sales of crown lands, the Trillium Trust—described as "the largest investments in public infrastructure in the province's history"—will allocate some $160 billion of infrastructure spending over 12 years. While the LCBO sale will contribute over $200 million to the Trust, however, it is not yet known to what degree these funds will be specifically allocated to Toronto projects.

The western half of the site will be redeveloped in a later phase, image by Stefan Novakovic

"The gain form the sale of the LCBO head office lands exceeds our projections [of approximately $200 million] and is another positive step forward in our plan to invest in infrastructure projects that grow the economy and create jobs for Ontarians. A more efficient head office and an enhanced retail store planned for the LCBO will also generate increasing returns to ultimately fund key services Ontarians rely on," said Sousa. 

The phase tower will be located at the east end of the site (looking northeast from Queens Quay), image by Stefan Novakovic

We will keep you updated as more information about the redevelopment comes to light. The sale is expected to formally close in the coming months, while construction of the phase one office tower is expected to begin in the Fall of 2017, with an early 2021 completion targeted. In the meantime, more information is available on the Province of Ontario's official website, as well as in our dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts about the sale and the proposed tower? Feel free to leave a comment in the space below this page, or join in the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was revised to reflect the correct square footages of the various elements.

Related Companies:  B+H Architects, Enwave Energy Corporation, McIntosh Perry, Menkes Developments, NAK Design Group, Stephenson Engineering, The Mitchell Partnership Inc., Urban Strategies Inc.