Waterfront Toronto works with innovative, experienced development teams that share the Corporation's commitment to sustainable development and design excellence.
Much of the land being revitalized along Toronto’s waterfront is publicly owned. Waterfront Toronto has development control of these lands and to facilitate revitalization we work with public and private sector partners who buy or lease the land for development. As part of our funding model, the revenue from land sales is then reinvested into funding and building public infrastructure which enables more development.
We offer the private sector a high level of certainty in undertaking development on the waterfront. We undertake most of the upfront work such as constructing major parks and public spaces, ensuring that zoning and other approvals are in place, building infrastructure such as roads and services, and management of the environmental risks. Developers/builders are left with market and construction risk.
Typically we go through a two stage process for selling land. First, we issue a Request for Qualifications to notify the market of the opportunity and to elicit responses from interested parties. To ensure that we are dealing with groups that can deliver the applicable project, we use external experts to evaluate the experience and capabilities of potential proponents. We also assess the overall team and who the developers have engaged to support their proposed project. The waterfront deserves excellent design, so we need a commitment to design excellence and sustainability. Using these criteria we narrow the list down to three to six developers who are invited to participate in a Request for Proposals.
Our objective is to identify a preferred proponent who will deliver the project to our high standards. We are looking for teams that have the vision and expertise to implement sustainable urban development that is not simply a new part of the city but part of a full time mixed-use place of living, employment, recreation, entertainment and public/cultural activity, vibrant public spaces and exceptional architecture.
Waterfront Toronto’s mandate is to revitalize the waterfront and not merely redevelop it. Our public policy agenda means that we want to get the best value for society, not merely the highest price for the land. Price is an important factor in selling the land, but it is not the only factor. We judge each proposal on cost, vision, design, sustainability and execution to ensure that we are getting the best overall package, and not just the highest price. We want a competitive market price and the rest is judged on those other criteria.
The process is overseen by a steering committee which includes Waterfront Toronto, representatives from the applicable public landowner as well as subject matter experts in design, real estate and sustainability. Input is also sought from area stakeholders.
We have now successfully concluded three private sector development deals: with Urban Capital on the River City project in the West Don Lands; with the Great Gulf Group of Companies for the Monde project in East Bayfront; and with international developer Hines on the Bayside project also in East Bayfront.