Waterfront Toronto Selects Development Partners for West Don Lands

Waterfront Toronto, a entity set up by the Canadian federal government and the governments of Ontario and Toronto, has selected development partners for the first phase of West Don Lands, a mixed-use project that is in turn part of a much larger, decades-long redevelopment of 2,000 industrial or formerly industrial acres along Lake Ontario near Downtown Toronto.The chosen partners are Toronto-based Urban Capital Group and Redquartz Development, an Irish developer.Remediation work has already begun on the site of the West Don Lands first phase, which will be known as River Square Neighbourhood. The first phase will ultimately include 850 market-rate housing units, the sale of which will begin next year. In addition, the Toronto Community Housing Corp. is developing 130 affordable housing units on the site.Plans for the entire West Don Lands call for a buildout in four phases over the next decade or so. The area is bounded by Parliament Street in the west and the Don River in the east, and is currently owned by the province of Ontario. Besides a total of 5,800 residential units, the fully finished West Don Lands will also include 1 million square feet of commercial space and 23 acres of parkland and other public space.One of the main reasons the partners were selected, according to Waterfront Toronto, is their ability to deliver a sustainable project. “Gold LEED certification is the baseline for this first phrase,” John Campbell, president & CEO of Waterfront Toronto, told CPN this morning. “And with the way the market for sustainable development is maturing, the baseline for future development in the West Don Lands or other parts of the waterfront will very likely be higher than that.”In March, Waterfront Toronto began looking for development partners for another part of waterfront project, a site known as the East Bayfront. Plans call for that site to include even more residences than the West Don Lands–about 6,000–as well as 2.4 million square feet of commercial space. Work is already under way on Corus Entertainment’s nearbyheadquarters building in East Bayfront, which it will move into early 2010.