Oxford Properties to Build $3B M-U Redevelopment Project in Downtown Toronto

Oxford Properties Group, one of Canada's largest pension funds, has unveiled its proposal for a $3-billion-plus mixed-use project in downtown Toronto.

Oxford Properties Group, one of Canada’s largest pension funds, has unveiled its proposal for a $3-billion-plus mixed-use project in downtown Toronto.

Fully funded by the private sector, Oxford Place would cover an 11-acre site on the south side of Front Street, in the heart of Toronto’s theatre and entertainment districts. Plans call for the revitalization and expansion of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 2.5 million square feet of office space, 1 million square feet of retail space, approximately 600,000 square feet of residential space;  4,000 new sub-grade parking stalls; 1.7 million square feet of hotel and amenity space and a 450,000-square-foot casino. The undertaking would also feature a 5.5 acre urban park over the existing rail corridor, according to the company.

According to Ottawa Citizen, the project hinges on the city council’s approval of the casino, which would be funded, built and operated by the casino operator selected by the province of Ontario.

“Although the casino itself represents less than 10 percent of the project’s area, it is a necessary and essential catalyst for the entire development and is a use that will be complementary to Toronto’s core,” Michael Kitt, Oxford’s executive vice-president, Canada, said in a statement.

Canada’s national paper The Globe and Mail reports that earlier this year, the Ontario government announced plans to expand the gambling industry in the Greater Toronto Area. The convention centre is among the favored sites, along with Exhibition Place and the Port Lands. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation plans to issue an official request for proposals next year. Before that, however, the city council is expected to make a decision on whether a casino should be built and which location would be appropriate.

Mayor Rob Ford told the newspaper that he would support the development of a casino, if it were beneficial for taxpayers. Toronto Councilor Adam Vaughan disagreed, stating that the gambling facility in the downtown core would discourage other developments.

If approved, Oxford Place will become the largest urban redevelopment project in Canadian history. Major economic benefits include the creation of thousands of jobs, as well as significantly increased property tax revenue for the City of Toronto.