Erin Nicole Davis
The rebirth of the former Toronto Coach Terminal site is one step closer to materializing.
Last week, CreateTO, on behalf of the City of Toronto, announced it has initiated a Request for Expression of Interest (REOI) as part of a two-stage market offering process for development teams to reimagine the Toronto Coach Terminal site. The prime downtown real estate sits at 610 Bay Street and 130 Elizabeth Street.
The existing art deco bus terminal ceased operations in 2021, when bus services moved to Union Station’s shiny new terminal. But, it will now get a new lease on life, thanks to CreateTO, the city’s real estate arm.
The vision for the property, adopted by City Council in April 2022, is to redevelop the site into a mixed-income, mixed-use development that includes affordable housing, a paramedics multi-hub (due to its proximity to Hospital Row), and employment opportunities. With respect to job ops, CreateTO says they will reflect a preference for innovative uses that take advantage of the property’s unique location within Toronto’s Discovery District
The proposed redevelopment of the combined 1.26-acre property will also include adaptive re-use of the existing heritage building, as well as streetscape improvements and the ability to generate financial returns.
Colliers International and The Spanier Group, retained by CreateTO, are leading the marketing of the property, one of eight City-owned sites to be unlocked in support of city-building initiatives through the City’s ModernTO program.
The ModernTO program, adopted by Council in 2019, aims to modernize the City’s office space, save money, and strategically use its real estate assets. Through this program, City Council identified eight underutilized City-owned properties that present an opportunity to unlock value and address city-building priorities, including the delivery of affordable housing, City services, financial sustainability, and other priorities.
“Freeing up underused City assets through the ModernTO program makes good financial sense and will enable us to address some of our City’s greatest needs, including the delivery of affordable housing,” says Mayor John Tory. “The Toronto Coach Terminal site presents an exciting opportunity to preserve a heritage asset while creating a mixed-use residential development that will include affordable housing, employment opportunities, and other city-building benefits.”
Vic Gupta, CEO, CreateTO. says that there are several reasons that makes the site suitable for meaningful redevelopment. “This is a transit-oriented site that sits at the heart of several important districts in downtown Toronto, one of which is the Discovery District — a 2.5-square-kilometre innovation district that is home to the third largest pharmaceutical and life sciences cluster in North America,” Gupta tells STOREYS. “The site is designated mixed use in the City’s Official Plan and has been identified as a site appropriate for high-density development, which is supported by the fact that it is in close proximity to higher order transit. There is also a significant amount of high-density development occurring within the vicinity of the property.”
Gupta says that the property’s location within Toronto’s Discovery District was also a major draw of the site. “The property’s location within Toronto’s Discovery District presents an opportunity to work with the development community to repurpose this site in a unique way and I think that’s an exciting prospect,” says Gupta. “Given its location and the historic significance to the City of Toronto, this site presents a prime opportunity for redevelopment, which will provide the City with the ability to address the need for affordable housing and the opportunity to breathe new life into a landmark heritage building, as well as delivering a range of other city-building benefits.
The REOI lays out CreateTO’s vision for the site, the guiding principles. and information about the property and process, including timing and deliverables for this first stage of the market offering.
“The REOI process has been designed to promote creative and innovative proposals that aim to achieve the ModernTO city-building priorities and local opportunities, as well as encourage respondents to partner with the local medical sciences sector — Canada’s largest research hub and one of the largest biomedical clusters in the world –to create an innovation district on this unique site,” said Gupta.
The results of the REOI and the recommended shortlisted proponents will go to Council for approval in the second quarter of 2023 and a detailed Request for Proposal (RFP) process will then be undertaken as part of the second stage of the market offering process to select a development partner.
Erin Nicole Davis
Erin Nicole Davis is a born and raised Toronto writer with a passion for the city and its urban affairs and culture.
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