Building up Toronto's Waterfront
Serenaded by the whine of saws, Toronto Mayor David Miller and a cast of business leaders christened the near-completion of the first new commercial building on the waterfront yesterday.
At a construction "topping off" ceremony for the 500,000-square-foot glass-clad structure - the new home of media giant Corus Entertainment next year - Mr. Miller said he hopes the project will be a catalyst for future job creation on the eastern waterfront.
"There is going to be an incredible vibrancy here," he said, with the newly named Corus Quay office and broadcast centre at Jarvis and Queens Quay East located next to a new George Brown campus under construction.
"They [people] will be living here, working here, playing here and studying here," Mr. Miller said.
"Corus is symbolic of the future industries of Toronto," he added.
But with Toronto's commercial real estate market in a slump, no one is making firm predictions about how quickly other businesses will migrate to East Bayfront. Over time, the long-dormant area is expected to draw 6,000 new residents and 8,000 "knowledge industry" jobs, with the addition of 12 acres of parks and open space.
Mr. Miller praised Corus for having "the courage and foresight to be the first" new building in the district.
But the go-ahead for the $160-million project, with Corus as the sole tenant for its 1,200 employees, came with key incentives from the city.
The project, constructed on city-owned land, was developed by the City of Toronto Economic Development Corp., the agency assigned to guide and develop Toronto properties.
The agency has no authority to borrow money directly so the city provided a $120-million backstop loan.
The city also provided $18-million in tax rebates to be recouped in time.
TEDCO acting chief executive Don Logie said "it's hard to say" if city tax and other incentives will be needed to spur commercial activity in the area.
"We are going through a pretty tough time right now and the next two years will be very difficult to attract tenants," he said.
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail Last updated on Thursday, July 9th 2009