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City of Toronto report recommends TAS as long-term lessee to revitalize Wellington Destructor site and create a community hub
From the City of Toronto News Release
News Release, October 13, 2021
Following an extensive call process, Toronto-based real estate development company TAS is being recommended by City of Toronto staff as the long-term head lessee of the Wellington Destructor site at 677 Wellington St. W. A report to the General Government and Licensing Committee (GGLC) details the terms of the proposed 49-year lease and two options for extensions of 25 years each. The report also seeks approval on TAS’ project proposal to restore this important heritage landmark and to retrofit the building for new community and commercial uses that would provide social and economic benefits to the public.
The report will be considered at the October 20 GGLC meeting and, if adopted, will be considered by City Council at the November 9 and 10 Council meeting.
The proposal submitted by TAS for the Wellington Destructor site, a 0.85 hectare City-owned property that includes a 3,700 square metre vacant heritage building, demonstrates how a heritage industrial site can be restored and turned into an active community catalyst. TAS proposes a project that will evolve the historic Wellington Destructor into a highly-public community asset that expands existing local park networks while reflecting local stakeholder priorities. It will leverage the unique physical characteristics of the Wellington Destructor and its surrounding site to deliver an iconic landmark that attracts, activates and inspires visitors from across Toronto and beyond.
The TAS proposal blurs the lines between urban park, community hub and commercial centre. The project will include a dynamic mix of innovative commercial tenancies, such as production facilities, learning, programming and administrative spaces, alongside community-based organizations. TAS will work with a diverse range of partners to ensure ongoing community benefit and engagement.
As part of the lease agreement, the City would contribute up to $32 million to remediate the property, and to retain and restore its heritage structure. This $32 million initial capital contribution will be repaid to the City over the term of the lease.
Constructed in 1925, the Wellington Destructor heritage building is a purpose-built brick garbage incinerator that was in active use until the incineration of solid waste was halted in the mid-1970s. It became a waste transfer station until the 1980s. The transfer station has been decommissioned and left vacant for decades. The property was listed on the City of Toronto Heritage Register in 2005 by City Council and is subject to policies for its conservation.
In 2018, City Council directed City staff to undertake a call process to secure a head lessee. Through a two-stage call process, the City sought creative proposals for the adaptive reuse and tenanting of the heritage-listed building. Four proposals were received through an open Request for Qualifications process, out of which two were invited to the Request for Proposals stage. TAS received the highest scores according to the evaluation criteria.
TAS is a privately-owned, Toronto-based mixed use real estate development company focused on the development and operation of residential and mixed-use buildings. TAS has completed several major developments with a combined value of over $300 million, and currently has approximately 500,000 square metres under development with a market value of $3 billion.
CreateTO and Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York) are hosting a public information session on Monday, October 18 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to update the community on the status of the project. Details of the session can be found on CreateTO’s website .
“This is a great step forward in the Wellington Destructor project. By preserving its heritage elements and creating new flexible spaces, this site will serve many uses and become a destination for people to create, learn and innovate.”
– Mayor John Tory
“The Wellington Destructor site has a storied history and its significance to Toronto is known to the surrounding neighbourhood. The proposed plan to transform the space into a cultural space and a community hub while still maintaining its heritage elements, will bring this early 20th century industrial structure back to Toronto and its residents.”
– Councillor Paul Ainslie (Scarborough-Guildwood), Chair of the General Government and Licensing Committee
“We have a tremendous opportunity to revitalize the City-owned Wellington Destructor heritage building and lands, transforming it into dynamic hub that will serve the rapidly growing community. By investing in this public asset – which has sat vacant for 35 years – we can create a vibrant downtown destination that will be home to a range of arts, culture, innovation and educational programing. This is how we can breathe new life into the treasured buildings of our city’s past.”
– Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York)
“CreateTO is pleased to recommend the commercial terms of the lease negotiated with TAS as the head lessee for the Wellington Destructor project. We look forward to witnessing the adaptive reuse of this landmark heritage building, which will return this site to public use as a community and cultural hub, complete with employment and commercial uses that will draw visitors from across the city and beyond.”
– Steven Trumper, CEO of CreateTO
CreateTO was formed in 2018 as the City of Toronto’s new real estate agency. The organization brings together stakeholders, partners and community members to ensure the best use of the City’s real estate assets for today and tomorrow. CreateTO manages the City’s $27 billion real estate portfolio, develops City buildings and lands for municipal purposes and delivers client focused real estate solutions – ensuring a balance of both community and economic benefits. For more information, visit createto.ca .
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter , Instagram or Facebook .
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TAS Leadership Team Expands Through Four Key Appointments
We are delighted to announce the expansion of our Leadership Team through four key appointments today.
Neil Vohrah is joining us as Chief Operating Officer (COO), John Miron joining as Chief Capital Officer (CCO) and long-standing team member Khan Tran is being promoted to Chief Investment Officer (CIO). We’re also tremendously proud to be welcoming Cheryl Gray to our Advisory Board.
A few words from President & CEO Mazyar Mortazavi:
“Neil and John join us as TAS continues to significantly scale our business and expand our impact. I’m thrilled that we‘ve been able to attract two new team members with such strong industry experience, who also share in our commitment to doings things differently.
Nurturing talent within TAS is vitally important to us, and so I’m equally delighted to be announcing Khan’s promotion, recognizing his tremendous efforts over the past three years in sourcing and closing on unique investment opportunities aligned with our impact framework.
Finally, I am very excited to be welcoming Cheryl, whose deep industry expertise will help guide our long-standing commitment to innovate and iterate as we pursue opportunities for impact.
Together with the other members of our Leadership Team and Advisory Board, Khan, John, Neil and Cheryl will help us build neighbourhoods — and ultimately cities — where people thrive and belong.”
About the Appointees and Their Roles
Cheryl Gray, Advisory Board Member
Effective June 1, Cheryl will join our Advisory Board to help guide our President & CEO and our Leadership Team on strategic and high-level operational matters that will position the business for enduring success as we continue to evolve and scale. Cheryl currently serves on the Board of Directors of REIC (Real Estate Institute of Canada) and on the Executive Committee of IREM as Immediate Past President and has held executive roles at QuadReal Property Group and BentallGreenOak and senior roles with many leading Canadian real estate firms with responsibility for office, industrial, retail, and residential portfolios. Cheryl is an acknowledged expert in sustainability, digital innovation, prop tech, smart buildings, pandemic response, cyber security and real estate management best practices and has received numerous industry recognitions and awards for her work.
Khan Tran, Chief Investment Officer
Effective immediately, Khan becomes our Chief Investment Officer after having served as our Executive Vice President, Investments since 2018. As CIO, he will continue to lead our efforts sourcing and executing on investment opportunities, guiding our property and asset management functions and working closely with our joint venture partners. He brings over 15 years experience in progressive leadership roles, most recently he was at CPP Investments Real Estate Division.
Neil Vohrah, Chief Operating Officer
Effective May 31, Neil will be responsible for project delivery across TAS, including leading our Development, Construction and Sales & Marketing groups. As COO, he will drive operational excellence, build and develop our team, and establish outstanding working partnerships. Neil brings 18 years of experience across architecture, development and construction, including high-profile global projects, and most recently served as a Vice President at Canderel.
John Miron, Chief Capital Officer
Effective July 5, John will be responsible for leading the company’s efforts relating to originating equity and debt capital for various investment vehicles, investment strategies and at a project level. As CCO, he will work closely with our CFO and our CIO in determining capital strategies that align our investors and joint venture partners with our impact investing goals and objectives. John will draw on his impressive 30 years of experience across finance, real estate and capital markets. Most recently he served as the Managing Director and Head of Canadian Real Estate Corporate Banking at RBC Capital Markets.
Detailed bios for Khan, Neil and John are available alongside those for the broader #TeamTAS here.