In a bid to raise revenues, the City of Toronto created Build Toronto as an arms-length development corporation to maximize the economic development potential of surplus city-owned land.
Build Toronto has partnered with a well known Canadian developer for its first major project, which will be a 75-storey (!) luxury condominium tower. However, such a partnership will likely create a conflict of interest as the building moves through the planning process:
Those crazy Canadians! I’m amazed at the planning news coming out of my hometown. It’s interesting if nothing else. Could you imagine if this was happened in your city?Local councillor Adam Vaughan agrees the site is suited to a tall structure, but said the joint-venture model turns the city into a real estate speculator and creates a conflict of interest as the building goes through planning approvals.
Preliminary designs, he said, includes a floor plan that is bigger than city standards and the project exceeds height restrictions for the site. Plans for aboveground parking also require zoning changes, all measures, he said, that will see the city negotiating with itself as regulator and developer. Any changes requested by staff could affect the city’s potential returns, said Mr. Vaughan, a frequent critic of the Ford administration.
“It’s not my job to guarantee investment,” he said. “It’s up to us to negotiate what is in the best interests of the neighbourhood.”