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City chooses partner for Baker Street redevelopment project that carries price tag of over $300 million

Special council meeting on project set for July 16
20160421 BAKER STREET ts

The city has chosen its patner for the redevelopment of the Baker Street District in Downtown Guelph that will eventually cost around $340 million to see to fruition.

A special meeting of city council will be held July 16 where staff will ask council to endorse it’s recommendation to enter into a letter of intent with the chosen developer.

Although the partner has been chosen, the city is not yet releasing the name until a “final review” of the staff report is complete.

The name will be released prior to the July 16 meeting, staff said.

The Baker Street District includes the Baker Street parking lot and buildings adjacent to it owned by the city.

It is expected to include a new main Guelph Public Library, commercial, institutional and office space and an underground parking facility.

A city report that says by the time the entire project is completed, it will carry a price tag of between $315 to $360 million.

The city hopes the project will be “construction ready” between 18 months and two years.

“While the actual Baker District Redevelopment costs (both City and developer) are yet to be determined, the overall direct capital investment is estimated at $230 to $265 million. When combined with the direct and indirect costs incurred to date, as well as the future indirect infrastructure renewal costs, the overall investment in the Baker District redevelopment will total approximately $315 to $360 million,” says the staff report.

The city needs a development partner to help make the project work, given the scope and cost of the project.

The city went through the RFQ (request for qualification) process and 10 proposals were received. From those, the city selected four for the RFP (request for proposal) phase and from that have chosen a preferred partner.

The four candidates were:

  • HOK Inc., a multinational development company with 23 offices on three continents.

  • Turner Fleischer Architects Inc., a company with offices in Toronto and Halifax.

  • Windmill Developments, a green-oriented developer.

  • Triovest Reality Advisors Inc., a real estate advisory/capital firm with 380 properties across the country.

The meeting on July 16 starts at 6 p.m.

On that night staff is asking council to authorize a letter of intent with the preferred partner and approve $500,000 from the capital budget to cover the next stage in the process.

Staff would report back to council by mid-2019.

“Subject to Council direction, the next step in the redevelopment process will be to enter into negotiations in which the City and the preferred development partner will identify the scope and business terms for the proposed development,” the report says.

“The expected outcome of the negotiation phase is an executed commercial agreement between the City and the preferred development partner that will specify the conditions under which the property can be developed.”

The city says that so far it has invested $29 million toward the Baker Street redevelopment, which includes the $22 million spent on the Wilson Street Parkade.

The full city report can be found here.