At the end of April, the province of Ontario announced the sale of surplus land to allow for the development of affordable housing.
The province sold 26 Grenville St. and 27 Grosvenor St. in Toronto to Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust and Greenwin Incorporated for $36 million. The land between Bay St. and Yonge St. will be transformed into new housing, retail space, and a daycare.
"Our government is delivering on our commitment to implement a more efficient and responsible process for selling buildings and property no longer needed to deliver government programs," says Bill Walker, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. "Selling off this property will help our government improve communities, bring in money for core services and save us hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' dollars in maintenance costs every year."
The land is currently occupied by a low-rise parking garage and what was formerly Ontario’s Chief Coroner’s Office. The location is pretty amazing, with shops and transit within walking distance.
There will be a minimum 700 rental units, 30% of which (just over 200) will be affordable housing. There is no mention of whether market housing will be included in the development.
This offloading of surplus land is part of the province’s plan to sell 243 properties over the course of four years specifically to build more housing and long-term care facilities. All the properties add up to approximately 14,600 acres, which could lead to hundreds of thousands of residential units.
"Our government believes that all Ontarians should have a place to call home. We are giving this unused land a brand-new purpose and bringing much needed rental and affordable housing to Toronto's downtown core," says Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "We will continue working with our municipal partners, non-profits, home builders and other experts to build more housing near transit and services so that everyone can find a home that meets their needs and their budget."
The province’s plan for the surplus land recently came under scrutiny by the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development, who released a report pointing out that Ontario was selling the surplus land at market value, making it more difficult to stipulate the number of affordable housing units required in future development.
By the sounds of it, Choice Properties and Greenwin have to include a certain number of affordable housing units, so it’s unclear how this arrangement came to be. Perhaps $36 million isn’t market value?
Regardless, we’re excited to see that surplus land in a prime location in Toronto will soon be home to well over 1,000 residents. We’re eager to see which other surplus sites are sold in the near future.