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|January 30th, 2012, 01:31 AM||#1|
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Unilever Site Office Park | Proposed | Don River Mouth
National Post article:
Former Unilever Factory at DVP and Lake Shore Sold, to be Redeveloped Into Office Park
Jan 26, 2012 – 3:29 PM ET
Last Updated: Jan 26, 2012 4:34 PM ET
The new owners of the Unilever site, near the mouth of the Don River, which made Sunlight and Dove soap products for more than a century, say they plan to transform the sprawling former factory into an office park for thousands of workers.
David Gerofsky, chief executive of First Gulf Corp., which bought the 14-hectare site from Unilever Canada in a deal announced Thursday, said that he wants to reuse the 225,000 square-foot factory building for offices, and lease out the 200,000 square-foot warehouse for warehouse uses, and build more office buildings on the site, so that, in a few years, as many as 4,000 workers will find jobs on the site. “It will be a really big community for various business and employment-type uses,” he said.
A Lever Brothers of Britain opened a factory in 1890 on the bank of the Don River in Toronto. For more than a century workers made soap here, including Sunlight and Dove products. In 2002 Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate, sold the factory (but not the land) to Pensler Capital Corp. of Princeton, N. J., owned by Sandford Pensler. Mr. Pensler renamed the company “Korex.” He froze workers’ wages. They lost their Unilever pensions. In 2008, Mr. Pensler offered a contract which workers said stripped seniority and benefits. About 160 workers walked out; in August, 2009, Korex Don Valley declared bankruptcy.
Mr. Gerofsky compared his plans for the Unilever site to the method his firm has used to transform the Toronto Sun building, which first Gulf bought two years ago and has transformed, adding a No Frills, an LCBO, two banks and now bolting 100,000 square feet of space to the roof as a new head office for Coca-Cola Canada.
|don river, first gulf, lever brothers, unilever|