Develop on the Waterfront
Waterfront Toronto works with innovative, experienced development teams that share our commitment to sustainable development and design excellence.
Much of the land being revitalized along Toronto’s waterfront is publicly owned. Waterfront Toronto has development control of these lands and to facilitate revitalization we work with public and private sector partners who buy or lease the land for development. As part of our funding model, the revenue from land sales is then reinvested into funding and building public infrastructure which enables more development.
Our development process
We offer the private sector a high level of certainty in undertaking development on the waterfront. We undertake most of the upfront work such as planning and design, constructing major parks and public spaces, ensuring that zoning and other approvals are in place, undertaking required remediation work, building infrastructure such as roads and services, and management of the environmental risks. Developers/builders are left with market and construction risk.
Typically we go through a two stage process for selling land. First, we issue a Request for Qualifications to notify the market of the opportunity and to elicit responses from interested parties. To ensure that we are dealing with groups that can deliver the applicable project, we use external experts to evaluate the experience and capabilities of potential proponents. We also assess the overall team and who the developers have engaged to support their proposed project. Using these criteria we narrow the list down to three to six developers who are invited to participate in a Request for Proposals.
Our objective is to identify a preferred proponent who will deliver the project to our high standards. We are looking for teams that have the vision and expertise to implement sustainable urban development that is not simply a new part of the city but part of a full time mixed-use place of living, employment, recreation, entertainment and public/cultural activity, vibrant public spaces and exceptional architecture.
Waterfront Toronto’s mandate is to revitalize the waterfront and not merely redevelop it. Our public policy agenda means that we want to get the best value, not merely the highest price for the land. Price is an important factor in selling the land, but it is not the only factor. We judge each proposal on cost, vision, design, sustainability and execution to ensure that we are getting the best overall package, and not just the highest price.
The process is overseen by a steering committee which includes Waterfront Toronto, representatives from the applicable public landowner as well as subject matter experts in design, real estate and sustainability. Input is also sought from area stakeholders.
Projects under development
In West Don Lands and East Bayfront, the first two communities being built as part of waterfront revitalization, there are a number of development projects in various stages of completion.
Waterfront Toronto’s first private sector development project is River City in the West Don Lands. Developed by Urban Capital and designed by Saucier + Perrotte Architects and ZAS Architects, the $383 million project includes more than 1,100 loft-styled condominium and townhouse units being built in four phases. Phase one is fully occupied and Phase two is now under construction. RC3, the third phase, was released in spring 2014. Contact rivercitytoronto.com for information on how to purchase units.
The West Don Lands will also be the location for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games Athletes’ Village. The Athletes’ Village will provide accommodations for the more than 10,000 athletes and officials coming to Toronto to compete in the Games. Additional amenities will also be provided, such as sports facilities, retail, restaurants, a medical centre, banks, entertainment and other conveniences. Following the Games, the Athletes’ Village area will become what it was always planned to be - a lively mixed-use riverside neighborhood with market and affordable housing, a new YMCA recreational facility, George Brown College’s first ever student residence, and new transit all supported by a pedestrian - and cycle - friendly public realm.
Opportunities to participate in the development of this project were detailed through a Request for Qualifications that was issued in fall of 2010. Dundee Kilmer was awarded a fixed-price contract to design, build and finance the Athletes’ Village project in September 2011.
The Canary District, the market component of the Village, includes 805 condominium units in four buildings. Phase two of the project – Canary Park – was released in spring 2014. Contact canarydistrict.com for information on how to purchase units.
The affordable rental housing in the Village will be owned and operated by Wigwamen Incorporated and Fred Victor. Fred Victor is a Toronto-based housing and community service organization with deep roots in the downtown Toronto community and Wigwamen Inc. has provided affordable housing, primarily to the Aboriginal community in Toronto, for 40 years. Contact Fred Victor and Wigwamen for information on their rental programs: fredvictor.org and www.wigwamen.com/.
Waterfront Toronto also partnered with theToronto Community Housing Corporation on the first phase of affordable housing in the West Don Lands neighbourhood. Construction of the 243 unit complex is underway, and will provide housing for seniors and families. Occupancy is slated for 2014. Toronto Community Housing Corporation is the largest social housing provider in Canada and second largest in North America.
In East Bayfront there are several projects under development. The first private sector development in East Bayfront was announced in late 2009. Designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the MondeCondominiums by Great Gulf will create a premier residential and commercial address overlooking Sherbourne Common. Ultimately, the project is expected to deliver a $276 million private sector investment in the community.
Bayside, a 5.3 hectare waterfront site in East Bayfront, is the largest parcel of land to be developed to date by Waterfront Toronto. Developed by Hines, one of the world’s premier real estate firms with Tridel, its residential partner, Bayside will become an active and diverse mixed-use community connected by major parks and public space. Toronto City Council overwhelmingly approved the sale and lease agreements for the city-owned parcel in August 2010. The development will result in a $910 million private sector investment with approximately $1.6 billion in total economic activity.
Construction of the new George Brown College Health Sciences Campus was completed in September 2012, and now serves more than 3,500 full-time and 450 continuous learning students. Designed by Stantec Architecture and Kuwabara Payne Blumberg Architects in a joint venture, the new campus is among the first in Canada to be purpose-built for an integrated approach to health care education where students from different professions learn together to support the provinces increased focus on collaborative term-based care.
Future development opportunities
Waterfront Toronto is undertaking one of the largest waterfront revitalization initiatives in the world with the transformation of 800 hectares of formerly industrial, underused lands into new showcase mixed-use communities.
There are unparalleled opportunities for commercial investment and development throughout the waterfront. Waterfront Toronto has already engaged development partners for a number of projects representing 380,000 square meters (4 million square feet) of development, much of which is currently underway.
The revitalization of Toronto's waterfront is a 25 to 30 year project, and Waterfront Toronto is implementing development in a phased approach to ensure the success of each individual project. The market place and the City can only absorb a limited amount of residential and commercial space each year, and flooding the market with 40,000 residential units and one million square meters of employment space in a short period of time would not be commercially viable.
In the next few years, there will be opportunities in East Bayfront, West Don Lands and the Lower Don Lands. All opportunities will be posted on our website.
For more information, please contact:
Director, Development Approvals
Chief Development Officer
Learn more about a rare opportunity to design, finance, construct, lease and operate 350,000 square feet of commercial space as a purpose-built facility dedicated to innovation, collaboration and sustainability through advanced technology.