Revitalization

Lessons on City Building from, er, Mississauga

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 19, 2012

Mississauga's reputation as a whipping-boy for unconstrained sprawl is in many ways deserved, but the city has also taken impressive strides in more recent years to intensify its existing land use, build a coherent downtown core and start functioning more like an actual city rather than an expansion slot for Toronto.

Absolute Towers in Mississauga (RTH file photo)
Absolute Towers in Mississauga (RTH file photo)

An article published in last Friday's Globe and Mail shares long-time mayor Hazel McCallion's thoughts on city building.

A downtown Mississauga Casino:

We don't own any land in the city. Therefore, the only way a casino would come before us for consideration would be a landowner that wants to build one.

The Toronto LRT controversy compared to Mississauga's unanimous LRT support:

Councillors decided LRT is the fastest way to get the job done. And underground is three times the cost. So they applied some common sense.

Council decorum:

You don't hear councillors tearing staff apart at a public meeting. Staff are encouraged to give us their professional opinion. All the staff in my office are city staff, not political staff. I don't have anyone trying to protect me from the press.

The whole interview is worth reading for McCallion's crisp distillations of sound policy.

Related:

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. Ryan also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal.

31 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Art Brut (anonymous) | Posted November 19, 2012 at 14:38:48

Thanks for the tip. Fascinating city.

As I've said beore, it'll be interesting to see if Mississauga will be able to reverse-engineer a downtown simulacra before we're able to rescue our own.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted November 19, 2012 at 15:06:54

Intensification or re-purposing is the only stride Mississauga can take, now.

What impresses me is not so much what they're doing on things like developing a "downtown" or planning for transit, as there is a very long way to go and large fiscal challenges to be faced. It's been how they've been able to accomplish things without the squabble and dithering that is so inherent in Hamilton. I'm sure the outsider's view is a bit different than the inside truth, but no matter what one thinks about McCallion's accomplishments I think she has provided solid leadership and has generally had her councillors swimming in the same direction.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted November 19, 2012 at 18:20:55

Hamilton used to follow their every lead, drooling the entire way as we copied their sprawl across the countryside....now I wish we would follow their lead.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 19, 2012 at 22:01:13 in reply to Comment 83030

For example, we should re-locate the city so it's closer to Toronto. After all, that's prettymuch the key to Mississauga's success.

Cheap land on three expressways into Toronto? Just fill those highways up and make use of what the province gave you.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By jason (registered) | Posted November 20, 2012 at 10:05:39 in reply to Comment 83038

Yea, I'm generally not impressed by any praise of Mississauga's growth/development. Toronto's airport was handed to them and they happen to be next door to TO to receive their overflow growth. And they completely mismanaged it for 40 years. Hardly a model for anyone to follow. They are trying to intensify now because they've realized that all the land was developed too quickly, and at a very low density. All that infrastructure is going to come up for refurbishing all at once and their fiscal challenge will be huge. The one bright side it will always have is Toronto's airport and surrounding airport development. Unlike Hamilton which lost it's huge manufacturing base, and associated revenue, Miss should never face that unless Pearson goes out of business....and that's not happening. Having said that, it's nice to see them desiring a true urban core...which we already have. It's a shame we still don't value ours as much as we should at a planning/political level. Saturdays Spec had a map which showed property value increases in Hamilton, and if you saw it you would have noticed something - it was the reverse donut hole effect. For so many years, maps like that showed the downtown area as a hollow hole in the middle of a prospering city. Now the reverse is happening, yet city hall still seems fixated on sprawl and spending tons of money on unnecessary highway ramps in Waterdown, yet balking at every nickel that gets spent downtown. I'd love to hand Mississauga control of our downtown development for the next decade. We'd see more investment and passion than we're likely to ever see here for the rest of our lives.

Comment edited by jason on 2012-11-20 10:10:12

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Walter Fielding (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2012 at 11:27:23 in reply to Comment 83043

Hamilton is hardly immune to synergistic relations with Toronto. Look at that map of MPAC valuations and what you arguably see (apart from a loaded repurposing of the Code Red neighbourhood palette) is a high-powered economy down the lake driving investment for the surrounding 100km.

Toronto: +5.5% avg avg
Peel: +5.5 avg increase
Halton: +5.0% avg increase
Hamilton: +3.1% avg increase
Niagara Region: +1.3% increase

And yet the average residential valuation increase across the province was 18%. Rural properties still seem to retain considerable market value. Look to Northern Ontario, or just Hamilton's city limits. Going off that map, exurban land seems to be as desirable as inner-city sites.

"...residential property values have increased by approximately 12.6 per cent in Hamilton. With the four-year phase in, property taxpayers will see an average increase of 3.1 per cent for the 2013 tax year. Farmland in Hamilton has increased by approximately 34.3 per cent. With the four-year phase-in, property taxpayers will see an average increase of approximately 8.5 per cent in 2013."

http://www.mpac.ca/media_centre/news_releasesHamilton.asp

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Walter Fielding (anonymous) | Posted November 21, 2012 at 13:46:55 in reply to Comment 83044

From today's Spec:

"The CMHC study shows an average Toronto price of more than $499,000 today, with prices in Flamborough, Ancaster and Burlington hovering around $490,000. Those prices compared to averages of $350,000 in Dundas, $150,000 in central Hamilton and $200,000 in east Hamilton."

The market catch-up that taking place is one reason why central Hamilton's valuation gains were noteworthy. In absolute dollar terms, however, it is hard to dispute the consumer demand that stokes those kind of suburban numbers. Average prices 2% cheaper than Toronto CMA in areas that have been growing their housing supply makes for an interesting asterisk.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Walter Fielding (anonymous) | Posted December 05, 2012 at 15:33:45 in reply to Comment 83093

With Toronto's forbidding prices cooling dramatically and GHA prices rising to meet market averages, Hamilton can finally showcase strengths other than "cheap and cheerful"

"Home sales continue to slide and prices soften, especially in the 416 region, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board, which recorded a 16 per cent decline in sales compared with November, 2011.

Condos took the biggest hit with resale transactions down 25.5 per cent across the GTA and prices down an average of 2.3 per cent. The biggest declines in condo prices were in the City of Toronto, where they were down almost 4 per cent year over year.

Overall, resale house prices held relatively steady across the GTA, up 1.6 per cent year-over-year to an average of $485,328. But that’s a far cry from the boom days and bidding wars that defined the market up until last spring, with ‘for sale’ signs now gracing front lawns an average of 30 days."

http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1297813--condos-take-the-biggest-hit-as-home-sales-drop-in-the-gta

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Walter Fielding (anonymous) | Posted November 28, 2012 at 11:50:24 in reply to Comment 83093

“We wouldn’t be surprised to see prices in Toronto down 5 per cent from where they are at the moment at the end of 2013,” he said. However, prices have risen 6.4 per cent in the past year. “We think it will be a price decline consistent with a soft landing of the resale market,” Mr. Pinsonneault said.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/housing/drop-in-home-prices-spreads-to-toronto/article5518413/

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Walter Fielding (anonymous) | Posted November 22, 2012 at 09:01:30 in reply to Comment 83093

Suburban Hamilton CMA prices may be able to nudge past the Toronto CMA average in 2013.

"Prices in Toronto dipped 0.6 per cent in October from September, the first monthly decline since the end of last year, according to the house price index compiled by Teranet and National Bank of Canada."

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/housing/drop-in-home-prices-spreads-to-toronto/article5518413/

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Walter Fielding (anonymous) | Posted November 21, 2012 at 14:09:49 in reply to Comment 83093

The property tax assessment ratio story in today's paper is another asterisk...

Municipality: Res / Multi-Res / Comm / Ind

Burlington: 78% / 3.4% / 14.5% / 3.6%
Hamilton: 80% / 4.8% / 11% / 2.2%
London: 79.7% / 5.1% / 12.8% / 1.6%
St. Catharines: 80.1% / 4.7% / 12.8% / 1.6%
Toronto: 71.9% / 7.7% / 20.1% / 0.2%
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Average: 79.5% / 2.4% / 11% / 3.9%



Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted November 21, 2012 at 15:32:18 in reply to Comment 83097

I thought Hamilton's residential tax base was way higher proportionally than other municipalities, so if these figures are correct this surprises me a little.

We're certainly higher than the provincial average, but by only 3% (and half a percentage point in terms of single-unit residential)

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Boomtown (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2012 at 12:31:21 in reply to Comment 83044

I must live in a boom-area because my property assessment increased 26.3% since the last assessment, $175K to $221K.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By PearlStreet (registered) | Posted November 21, 2012 at 02:14:15 in reply to Comment 83047

That is terrific! Good to see numbers to satisfy the curiosity. Mine on Pearl Street South did well too; from 192k to 240k! Thanks to Hamilton falling in Love with Locke Street.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By jason (registered) | Posted November 20, 2012 at 14:50:45 in reply to Comment 83047

which hood are you in?

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Boomtown (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2012 at 20:04:27 in reply to Comment 83054

Gibson.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By jason (registered) | Posted November 20, 2012 at 20:11:03 in reply to Comment 83061

good stuff.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Saugy (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2012 at 09:30:54

2/3rds of Mississauga residents live and work in Mississauga, as opposed to the common perception that most commute into Toronto for work. Companies locate there because of strong incentives, proximity to Toronto and good transportation options with highways and airport. However Mississauga has a looming infrastructure crisis (much like any Canadian municipality) which is leading them towards intensification. That and being out of greenfields to develop. Their road network is also ridiculously overbuilt, providing 6 lanes on nearly every major arterial. The built form encourages driving for all trips (plenty of cul de sacs and non-grid subdivisions). An interesting case study.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted November 20, 2012 at 17:40:26

/start rant

Yeah, there seems to be this sudden urge by the G&M to rehabilitate Mississauga's image. Mississauga is now looking at urban intensification because they have run out of room to sprawl. That is why if you visit Mississauga, in areas that once hosted farms and woodlots there are endless numbers of socio-economic enclaves developers call subdivisions. And, yes, with the new focus on intensification Mississauga's downtown has been discovered. And still at the heart of it is a huge parking lot with a mall. And, yes, Mississauga is building bicycle lanes that would put Hamilton to shame. True. But you can live in Hamilton without a car if you choose. It would be damned hard to do the same in Mississauga even if you lived downtown. Take a Google map view of Mississauga's "downtown" and imagine a night out without the car as you take in a movie and a meal at a big box restaurant which is almost all downtown Mississauga has to offer.

I've only been in Hamilton for about a year and I love it. I love the walkable neighbourhoods where front porches face the street as opposed to the asses of snout houses. I love that almost everywhere I can visit independent, locally owned restaurants that serves up something different than fat, salt, and corn. I love that Hamilton boasts a thriving local arts community that showcases all over the city and, very often, in those same local eating establishments. I love that Hamilton has history, and character and run down factories as opposed to just glass, steel, and endless clones of houses.

Yes, Hamilton has its problems one of which is an inability to move past the 1970s when it comes to cars, transportation, and urban development, But Hamilton is not unlike most other cities in North America that way. But I can tell you I'd rather live in Hamilton than Mississauga any day. Hamilton is a city. It has always been a city. Mississauga is a suburb and even if it can become the Canadian answer to Dubai, it will still lack a human soul.

/end rant

Comment edited by ViennaCafe on 2012-11-20 17:57:42

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted November 21, 2012 at 11:47:18 in reply to Comment 83059

Just as long as Hamilton doesn't end up as Mississauga's Sonapur.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2012 at 21:37:27 in reply to Comment 83059

I can't vote on your comment because I don't have a login, so I'm taking the extra effort to write a comment of support.

I agree with your comment. :-)

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2012 at 20:40:03

Facing the need for a drastic tax increase, Mississauga councillors are second-guessing their own plans for a $1.5 billion LRT to modernize the city and ease congestion.

Weak support for the project became apparent this week after staff proposed a 7.8 per cent increase for the city’s portion of the 2013 tax bill. Nowhere in the budget was there funding for the light rail transit the city wants to build along its north-south spine, Hurontario St.

It’s estimated the project would cost the city $500 million — a tough sell despite all-round agreement that the city desperately needs to boost its transit service.

“An extra $3 million is about a 1 per cent increase,” Councillor George Carlson said Wednesday. “Nobody wants to get booted in the next election. If we even put $10 million to $15 million away a year, the very minimum needed, we wouldn’t live long enough to put a dent into the $500 million we’ll need for our share.”

On Thursday, the province indicated that Mississauga’s LRT would be part of the Metrolinx second wave of transit priorities. But Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig made it clear that municipalities would still have to contribute to the costs of projects in their cities.

During Tuesday’s budget presentation, when transit funding for 2013-2016 was discussed, staff did not address paying for the LRT, despite frequent talkof the project this year by Mayor Hazel McCallion and other councillors.

Building light rail along Hurontario is seen as a key step to addressing the city’s increasing congestion amid an intense building program, particularly in the downtown core.

Following a March 28 presentation on the LRT project’s status, councillors responded enthusiastically to the three-year estimate for completion of the project, as design and environmental studies were about to begin.

Council backed a funding model that would include tax revenues, fees from new development and even a special levy or property tax increase. Council hoped to see the province cover one-third of the cost and Ottawa another third, with the city picking up the rest.

On Wednesday, McCallion and Councillor Nando Iannicca shifted from that position, saying there was a possibility the province might cover the whole shot.

“The LRT is a big question mark, quite honestly,” McCallion said. “We’re waiting to see what Metrolinx is going to do. Maybe the LRT will be fully funded by the province. We don’t know.”

But McCuaig’s comments Thursday seem to have dashed those hopes.

McCallion also said Wednesday that the federal government hasn’t decided if it will fund such infrastructure programs based on the one-third model.

“It’s a big open question,” she said. “In my opinion the LRT project will not move unless there is a major injection of federal and provincial funding.”

The mayor, who has been floating the idea of a land transfer tax to raise an estimated $74 million annually, finally said the LRT won’t t go forward if residents have to fund too much of it.

Iannicca acknowledged that, if senior governments don’t go along, the project just might not happen. “At the end of the day, Mississaugans are going to have to realize we’re going to have to pay more if we want that LRT, and we’re going to have to go to the taxpayers in one form or another.”

Carlson and Councillor Pat Saito said their colleagues should stop talking about the LRT like it’s a done deal.

“We haven’t put (LRT) funding in the budget, because it’s not a definite go,” Saito said Tuesday.

Carlson added Wednesday: “The proof is in the pudding. If anyone really wanted to make a funding commitment for it, they would have moved a motion. Has anyone ever moved a motion?”

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/cityhallpolitics/article/1295412--is-mississauga-bailing-on-its-lrt-plan

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2012 at 09:31:59 in reply to Comment 83317

Poker face.

City of Mississauga Prepares For Light Rail Transit on Hurontario
Nov 30, 2012

"The City of Mississauga is preparing for Light Rail Transit on the Hurontario corridor," said Mayor Hazel McCallion. "We are pleased with the announcement by Metrolinx yesterday that the LRT is part of its next wave of projects in the Big Move and we look forward to working with Metrolinx on the implementation of the LRT. We have done our homework. Our residents have told us this is what they need and want. We have a completed feasibility study and resulting Master Plan. We are working towards bringing it to Mississauga. We will face funding challenges and we are preparing for that. We are working with our funding partners including Metrolinx that has strongly supported us along the way. Light Rail Transit continues to be a priority and we know it represents the future for our City. Light Rail Transit on Hurontario can be found in all aspects of our future planning. It will not be easy. Anything worth doing takes time, money and effort and we respect that and are thankful for the support we have received."

http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/cityhall/pressreleases?paf_gear_id=9700020&itemId=800036r

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted December 03, 2012 at 11:43:27 in reply to Comment 83381

Ward 7 Councillor Nando Iannicca says construction of a $1.6 billion light rail transit system along Hurontario St. could begin within the next five years if the funding can be found by the government agency responsible for coordinating and integrating transportation in the region.

Iannicca was responding to Metrolinx president and CEO Bruce McCuaig, who today unveiled the next phase of Metrolinx's regional transit plan, dubbed The Big Move, during a presentation to the Toronto Board of Trade.

The 23-kilometre LRT, which will connect Port Credit with downtown Brampton, is among several projects announced today as being part of the next phase.
The Big Move calls for an investment of $50 billion over 25 years. So far, about $16 billion has been invested in a variety of projects, including several in Mississauga....

Iannicca acknowledged, though, that how the project will be funded remains unclear. However, he said it's his understanding Metrolinx might pay for as much as 75 per cent.

The City of Mississauga has already started the design, engineering and environmental assessment studies and Iannicca believes construction could begin in three to five years.

However, questions remain as to how the next $34 billion in projects will be paid for by Metrolinx.

"With our plan in place, it's now time for the big conversation about the best ways to pay for this $34 billion investment," said McCuaig. "Together, let's look to what other world-class cities have done to fund their transit plans and then get the job done here."

Metrolinx officials say they must inform Queen's Park of their investment strategy by June 1, 2013.

http://www.mississauga.com/news/article/1546113--hurontario-rail-transit-project-part-of-metrolinx-plan

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted December 18, 2012 at 16:52:00

Absolute Towers make the cover of the latest CTBUH Journal...

https://store.ctbuh.org/PDF_Previews/Journal/CTBUHJournal_2012-4.pdf


... and they get a half-hour love-up as well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9xWZuZfYPvw


There's also an interesting piece in there about the explosive rise of Canadian skyscraper development. Some crazy stats on TO: By 2015, Toronto will be home to 44 highrises taller than 150m, compared to 13 skyscrapers of that scale in 2005.

Sample:

Canada is in the midst of a tall building boom. Twenty six buildings taller than 150 meters have been built in Canada since 2005, according to a new research study by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

Canada added four buildings taller than 200 meters in 2012, the most Canada has ever completed in a single year, the CTBUH study found. In contrast the United States completed two building over 200 meters in 2012.

The epicenter of Canadian tall building development is Toronto, where 15 buildings taller than 150 meters are under construction, more than any other city in the western hemisphere. Toronto is projected to have 44 buildings taller than 150 meters by 2015, up from 13 in 2005.

But Toronto is not alone. Vancouver and Calgary are also growing taller. By the end of 2015 the number of buildings in Canada taller than 150 meters is expected to increase to 74, up from 26 in 1995, according to the CTBUH study.

“Canada is reshaping its urban centers and tall buildings are playing a large role,” said Dr. Antony Wood, Executive Director of the CTBUH. “Canada is at the forefront of discussions about density, transportation and urban sustainability.”

The development in Canada also reflects a global shift in the fundamental role of tall buildings around the world. In 2001, 26 of the 27 buildings taller than 150 meters in Canada were office or hotel buildings; today 15 of the 17 buildings taller than 150 meters currently under construction are entirely or partially residential. Eight of the 9 buildings taller than 150 meters completed in Canada in 2012 featured a residential component.

All five of the towers taller than 200 meters under construction in Toronto are residential.

http://www.ctbuh.org/Publications/Journal/InNumbers/TBINCanadaRising/tabid/4080/language/en-US/Default.aspx

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.

By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2013 at 15:19:50 in reply to Comment 84114

Bonus: The Absolute Worlds make the cut in this month's Architectural Digest.

http://www.architecturaldigest.com/architecture/2013-02/best-architectural-projects-slideshow_slideshow_-strong-absolute-world--strong-_16

Time to kick our renderings up a notch!

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2013 at 09:56:55

Coat tails are the new steel.

. . .

Toronto will add more prime office space in 2014 than almost any other city in the Americas as developers take advantage of low borrowing costs to meet demand from companies such as Google Inc.

More than 1.59 million square feet of so-called triple-A space will be added in Toronto next year, according to data from Cushman & Wakefield Inc., the world’s largest closely held real estate brokerage firm. That’s more than in New York and trails only Mexico City, Cushman said. Investments from pension funds and real estate investment trusts, as well as borrowing costs in some cases more than 2 percentage points lower than in 2007 have helped fund development as well as acquisitions.

Rising demand led to a record high price for an office building in Canada when a group of pension funds paid $749 a square foot for the Brookfield Place-TD Canada Trust Tower on Bay Street in December, according to RealNet Canada Inc., a Canadian real estate data firm.

“It’s expensive right now and this kind of office space should command a premium for the next few years until much more supply comes onto the market,” Pierre Bergevin, chief executive officer of Cushman & Wakefield in Canada, said in a phone interview. “The Toronto market, let’s face it, is relatively closed.”

Commercial real estate prices have been rising in Toronto as companies tap an urban workforce living among the 51 condominiums that have been built since 2009. The city, home to the country’s five biggest lenders, which control about 80% of the nation’s bank assets, has more high rises under construction than any other metropolis in the world. It’s the second-largest North American financial services center after New York.

Canada’s REITs and pension funds are taking advantage of low-cost funding to purchase and finance development of commercial real estate. Dundee REIT and H&R REIT bought Scotia Plaza, Canada’s second-tallest office building, from Bank of Nova Scotia for a record $1.27 billion in May.

Dundee said it financed the purchase in part with a $650 million 3.45% seven-year mortgage bond. By comparison, H&R, Dundee’s partner in the deal, paid 5.66% for 10 years of mortgage financing in September, 2007. Toronto-based Dundee also raised $300 million with an equity offering, adding to the $5.12 billion that was raised by REITs in 51 initial public offerings and secondary sales in Canada last year. The $500 million raised from seven REIT IPOs in 2012 was the most for any industry, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Capped REIT Index of 15 Canadian REITs has climbed 9.9% in the past 12 months, compared with a 1.9% gain for the S&P/TSX Composite Index.

Real estate developers also are benefiting from a rebound in the commercial mortgage-backed security market. Brookfield Office Properties Canada LP raised $525 million of bonds using the leases on the Bay-Wellington Tower, adjacent the Canada Trust Tower on Bay Street. The December deal was the second of 2012 and only the third since 2007, after the CMBS market slammed shut in 2008.

Ten glass-encased high-rise office towers are slated to open by the end of 2017, financed by pension funds, real estate investment trusts, and private developers. RBC Waterpark Place, which will be the headquarters of Toronto-based Royal Bank of Canada’s consumer-lending unit, is being developed by Oxford Properties and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the country’s biggest pension fund.

The largest prime office tower opening in the next decade is the Richmond Adelaide Centre, also developed by Oxford Properties, a unit of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System. The futuristic-designed building will have Deloitte & Touche LLP occupy some of its almost one million square feet. A smaller office block at 134 Peter St. is under development by Allied Properties REIT.

Additional Supply


BloombergThe sale price for the 51-floor TD tower, located at Bay and Front streets with a view of the Toronto Islands and waterfront, is not likely to be repeated in the coming years.
There was no additional supply of Class-A office space in 2012 and only 100,000 square feet is due this year, according to Cushman & Wakefield. That pushed Toronto’s prime vacancy rate to 5.1% last year, close to its 2000 record low of 3.4%, according to the data. The vacancy rate will reach 7.6% in 2014, Cushman said. New York’s rate, at 7.2% last year, will remain unchanged at 7.4% in 2014. The city is adding 916,000 square feet of space in 2014.

Last year was a record for commercial sales transactions in Toronto. Investment in office, retail, and industrial properties reached $13 billion, up 73% from 2009, according to RealNet data. About a third of that was office space. Total transactions were about 2,000 while the number of sales worth more than $100 million reached a record 14 deals.

The most expensive deals are in the south core of the city. The Standard Life Tower at 121 King St. West sold for $587 per square foot, or $306 million, while the RBC Centre was $495 per square foot, or $300 million.

“What the area of the south financial district brings to the city of Toronto is the whole live, work, play environment,” said Peter Menkes, president of the commercial and industrial division of closely held Menkes Development Ltd. at One York’s ground breaking in January. The developer is also part owner of the $375 million building.

The communications industry, including Google Canada’s marketing team, accounted for 16% of total tenants in Toronto for the past three years, according to data supplied by Cushman. The health of the country’s banking sector has largely sustained this demand at 26% of total tenants.

Google Canada and Coca-Cola Co. are among companies moving closer to the Toronto core.

“It’s about location, location, location and when we looked around, that’s always at the top of our list,” Chris O’Neill, managing director of Google Canada, said in a phone interview from his office on Richmond Street West. “The bottom line is that we’re fast-paced and a connected company and we really want to thrive in the downtown core.”

Google opened the new space in October, moving to five floors of an office building one block away from the Exchange Tower, home to the Toronto Stock Exchange. The tech giant outgrew its previous office in the city and wanted to find somewhere even more central for its 150 regular employees.

“Of course we look at the cost but to us, at the core of our culture is creativity and our people,” O’Neill said. “And it’s certainly worth it for us to make these types of investments.”

The company is leasing 89,000 square feet and occupies less than half of that, leaving room for growth in this location, with its meeting rooms in tents, free healthy snacks, and a mini outdoor golf course.

Prime property is not the only type set to hit the market. More than five million square feet of all office space, including prime, is forecast to be constructed in Toronto this year, according to CBRE Group Inc., the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm. That could mean higher vacancy offsetting high demand for years to come.

http://business.financialpost.com/2013/02/01/toronto-to-pass-new-york-in-commercial-property-boom/

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted March 10, 2013 at 15:40:36

Downtown Project Moves Ahead with Main Street Mississauga

Mar 08, 2013

This week, City Council passed a bylaw establishing a Community Improvement Project Area in Downtown Mississauga's 'Main Street' district. The area is identified as a key focus for development in the Downtown21 Master Plan, the City's vision for a more vibrant, walkable, urban downtown.

The centrepiece of the district will be a new Main Street to link Square One Shopping Centre in the north with the established residential area south of Burnhamthorpe Road West. The district is bounded in the west by Duke of York Boulevard and in the east by Kariya Drive.

"Every City needs a Main Street - a public place where anyone can go and feel at home," said Janice Baker, City Manager and CAO. "Now is the time to build on all the planning we've done and partnerships we've built. This is our chance to make the Strategic Plan's vision for our downtown come to life."

The new bylaw allows the city to start work on a community improvement plan (CIP) for the identified area to spur Main Street-appropriate development. CIPs, as noted in a report to City Council, can include a range of programs and financial tools. The plan to be proposed for the Main Street district will aim to encourage development that contributes to a vibrant, people-friendly area, as well as the infrastructure necessary to support it. The City's policies on CIPs are a part of Mississauga's Official Plan.

The new bylaw accompanied legislation required to implement the new planning framework for Downtown Mississauga. At the February 20, 2013 City Council meeting, staff was directed to bring the legislation to Council. Amendments to the Official Plan, a new Downtown Core Local Area Plan, a zoning amendment bylaw and new built form standards were approved by Council at their meeting on March 6, 2013.

As Canada's sixth largest city, Mississauga is home to 741,000 residents and 55,000 businesses, including 63 Fortune 500 companies with Canadian head offices or major divisional head offices. A diverse, progressive and award-winning municipality located on the shores of Lake Ontario in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area, Mississauga is "Leading Today for Tomorrow" by focussing on delivering services, implementing its Strategic Plan, delivering value for money and maintaining infrastructure.


http://www.mississauga.ca/portal/cityhall/pressreleases?paf_gear_id=9700020&itemId=1100850r

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted May 16, 2013 at 09:59:02

Things happen fast in Mississauga. University of Toronto president David Naylor walked into council at 9 a.m. Wednesday. An hour later, he left with a $10-million commitment to help build an innovation complex on the Mississauga campus.

The centre will cost $70 million to $100 million and, surprisingly, ground will be broken next week at the U of T Erindale site.

“This is Mississauga, things move fast,” Naylor said after Mayor Hazel McCallion and council resoundingly endorsed the $10 million funding, which will be spread over 10 years.

A formal vote and decisions on where the city money will come from will occur shortly. But the mood of the morning was speed.

“We are moving forward and we just need rocket fuel to keep going faster and higher,” Naylor said.

“I can assure you that the request for $1 million (a year) over 10 years will be tough for the city,” McCallion told Naylor and Deep Saini, principal of the U of T’s Mississauga campus.

“The $10 million will come back to Mississauga as well as the surrounding area many, many times.”

Councillor Nando Iannicca told them, “You had me at hello.”

Councillors said investment in education, especially the specialized higher learning the new complex will offer, is exactly what Mississauga needs to become a world-class city.

Hospitals and universities are two of the things great cities are known for, said Councillor Pat Mullin.

The Institute for Management and Innovation, to be built by September 2014, will house programs that mix management studies with fields such as bio-pharma, environmental sustainability and a variety of engineering disciplines.


http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/05/15/mississauga_commits_cash_to_u_of_t_innovation_complex.html

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted June 03, 2013 at 09:47:49

And on Toronto's eastern flank...

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/06/03/oshawa_the_gtas_final_frontier_for_development.html

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Noted (anonymous) | Posted June 27, 2013 at 09:14:44

Mississauga residents will have to do without almost $1 billion in new projects and repairs over the next decade in the face of a budget reality that will also mean stiff tax increases.

“They’ll have to be (postponed) unless we want to tax people out of their homes. And I don’t think any member of council wants to do that,” Mayor Hazel McCallion said after an early budget presentation Wednesday.

Next year’s fiscal picture isn’t rosy.

Staff have projected that increases of 6.9, 4.7 and 7.5 per cent on the city’s share of the property tax bill will be needed in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 as the city struggles with its first wave of maturing infrastructure while growth-related development dollars dry up.

“We fought 12 years to get the (city’s share of the) gas tax, but we won,” McCallion said, pressing the point that Ottawa needs to step up to help municipalities struggling with aging infrastructure and transit needs.

Asked if she will push for a land transfer tax similar to Toronto’s — an idea she was lukewarm to last year — McCallion stepped back from the idea, saying the private sector might have to partner in more planned projects.

http://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2013/06/26/mississauga_council_deals_with_gloomy_fiscal_picture.html

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

Comment Anonymously
Screen Name
What do you get if you divide 12 by 3?
Leave This Field Blank
Comment

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds