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Old January 21st, 2010, 08:17 AM   #481
isaidso
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It's a fascinating place and just seems to keep booming year in year out.
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Old February 4th, 2010, 06:43 AM   #482
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Add 1 part offices, 1 part condos; try to mix well
Will the recipe work? Vancouver, Toronto test the contentious concept in their downtown cores

26 January 2010
The Globe and Mail

Canada's fourth-richest man, Jimmy Pattison, doesn't change office locations quickly.

The British Columbia king of grocery stores, car dealerships and outdoor advertising moved into the Guinness Building when it opened in 1969 in downtown Vancouver. He was still there 35 years later.

But when his long-time assistant Maureen Chant, who wields considerable power, heard that there was a new tower planned for a block away, she said, “We're going to be moving into that building.”

The choice might have seemed odd to some. The Shaw Tower is not a traditional “power broker” building. The 42-storey structure next to the city's convention centre has 18 floors of offices on the bottom and 24 storeys of expensive condos above them.

But that didn't make Ms. Chant blink. It's a beautiful building and it's right on the waterfront.

“As far as the residential here, you don't even know,” Ms. Chant says from her 18th-floor office, where she and her boss moved four years ago. “It's not an issue at all. We couldn't be happier.”

It might not be an issue for the occupants of Shaw Tower. But city planners, downtown business groups and commercial brokers worry about mixing high-end office buildings with condos in or near central business districts.

Their big fear: that condos will end up crowding out work space, which could have an impact on cities' economic health.

That's been a point of tension in Vancouver, where skyrocketing sales of downtown condos have led developers to pay any price for land to build them on. That drove up the price of real estate to the point where office-development economics didn't work in a city where the demand for Class A space is lower, compared with that of Toronto or Calgary, and where people were willing to pay a premium for luxury condos downtown.

After several high-profile sites near the central business district were either converted from office to condo or were built as new condo towers, enough alarm set in that Vancouver put a moratorium on condo development in a large downtown area.

Vancouver's planning director, Brent Toderian, has had to fight local developers who argue that the city can't support a large area of office-only development and that the condos in mixed-use buildings help subsidize office space.

“Vancouver is not a large head-office town, but it still doesn't mean you can default to mixed-use towers. You still need office space,” Mr. Toderian says. “And if you mix, you replace office volume with residential.”

Even Toronto, with its much more robust office market, has seen condo development encroaching on its downtown and important satellite downtowns, to the point where planners have had to declare that residential development won't be allowed at key points.

“At Yonge and Sheppard, we're reserving some properties for employment use because it's close to transit. And around Union Station, we want to make sure that's not residential,” says Robert Freedman, the director of urban design for Toronto. “If you allow your sites that are best serviced by transit to be surrounded by residential, that creates problems.”

He acknowledges that he feels pressure from developers who say the market and not egghead planners should decide what gets built where and when.

Toronto has allowed projects that mix residential – no more than 50 per cent – and non-residential in an area south of Union Station where development had been sluggish. That allowed Maple Leaf Square, now under construction, to combine offices, shops and condos.

That policy is working for the city, says Toronto's senior urban designer for the downtown, James Patakh. Why? Because it has sparked office development. “Now we have two other purely office buildings under construction near there,” he says.

Which is all good, as long as the pattern holds.

City planners aren't the only ones who worry and wonder, though. The move to mixed uses downtown sparks passionate debate in the development and business communities about what makes a downtown or a good office building.

Ian Gillespie, who built the Shaw Tower in Vancouver (and is building Toronto's Shangri-La), believes that mixed-used office and condos in downtown districts are here to stay and those who don't realize it are stuck in last-century ideas.

“By any measure, the Shaw Tower is a huge success. This is the most sought-after building in the city,” says Mr. Gillespie, although he acknowledges that the location is a critical factor for any mixed project.

Development consultant Michael Geller, who has worked in both Toronto and Vancouver, says he thinks Vancouver is “making a mistake by discouraging mixed-use next to the CBD [central business district] – one subsidizes the other.”

And even Vancouver's top office developer thinks mixed buildings have a place in his city. “Mixed use really depends on the size of the city, the nature of the community and the residential demand,” says Tony Astles, vice-president of real estate service for Bentall Corp. “For a small city, mixed use makes a ton of sense. There isn't enough demand to build a full office.”

But others argue that, with rare exceptions such as the Shaw Tower, a developer will never get the same price for office space in a mixed building compared with an office-only tower. That means an ultimate reduction in space available for Class A buildings, which are essential to a downtown core.

“Mixed-use developments are only for certain types of office tenants,” says Rob Armstrong at Avison Young in Toronto, where he is managing director of the tenant representation group. “Lawyers, accountants, head offices, stockbrokers want office space that's going to help brand you. It's not just about the money, it's about who I am.”

He notes that Maple Leaf Square – the mixed project that the City of Toronto allowed – had some trouble finding the right companies who wanted to move in because of that dynamic. The building apparently is now 87 per cent leased.

Some firms will happily move in to a mixed-use building if it works with their image. But they are few and far between. They're also likely to pay less.

While a top Class A building would lease for $70 a square foot, says Mr. Armstrong, mixed-use projects, especially one south of the tracks, would more likely fall in the $35-to-$45 range.

One of the partners in Maple Leaf Square agrees that his kind of project takes special tenants.

“It was thought there was an opportunity for a special kind of office user who would like to take advantage of the signage and the branding opportunity, who could take advantage of the types of businesses that were attracted by that,” says Wayne Barwise, senior vice-president at Cadillac Fairview. His company developed the project, which is next to the Air Canada Centre, with Lanterra, a residential developer, and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

But for other sites, Mr. Barwise said, the mixed-use model that his company has been employing more often is one where office and residential exist on the same property but in separate buildings.

Cadillac Fairview's RBC Centre and Ritz Carlton project is an example of that approach. Cadillac built a 1.2 million-square-foot office tower on one part of the land and is completing the second tower, which will have the Ritz Carlton Hotel on the bottom 20 floors, with 30 floors of condos above.

Cadillac wouldn't necessarily try even that combination just anywhere. But, says Mr. Barwise, such mixing is appropriate for certain places.

“They work in highly concentrated urban settings.”
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Old March 5th, 2010, 06:09 PM   #483
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Toronto leads building rebound
GTA permit values up 18.3 per cent in January

Toronto Star
5 March 2010

When the Greater Toronto Area building industry takes a hit, Stephen Rockett's business is usually among the first to feel the pain.

After what he describes as a "disastrous" 2009 that saw profits fall by 40 per cent, the owner of Mississauga-based Rockett Lumber and Building Supplies Ltd. laid off about 150 workers, chopping his workforce by about a third. This year he's hiring many of them back.

"The outlook is much more positive, job sites are moving again," said Rockett, the president of the company started by his father Ben 58 years ago.

So far, the first numbers trickling in from the beginning of the year look good.

The value of building permits in the Toronto area increased by 18.3 per cent in January over December, according to figures released by Statistics Canada Thursday.

The federal agency said $1.18 billion worth of permits were taken out at the start of the year, compared with just under a billion worth at the end of last year.

Both residential and non-residential sectors showed an increase in the Toronto area. January permits were also up by 27 per cent year over year.

The greatest improvement was in the single-detached building sector, which was up by more than double from January 2009, when consumer confidence was at a record low.

Buyers stopped visiting new housing sites last winter and companies such as Rockett's felt the pinch. Permits were down in 2009 by 16.5 per cent compared with 2008 as the recession hit building sites and financing froze.

With permits a forward-looking indicator, a strong start to the year means a healthy spring for suppliers.

Rockett said it could take up to three months for the January permit applications to work their way down to his level and to his six locations throughout Ontario.

The optimism in Toronto's development community contrasts with national figures that show permits falling by 4.9 per cent in January compared with December.

The total value of permits fell in 18 of 34 census metropolitan areas monitored by Statistics Canada. Most of that decline was in the non-residential sector which includes industrial, commercial and institutional building.

The largest declines were in Calgary, Vancouver and Sudbury. Top gains were in Toronto and Montreal.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 07:45 PM   #484
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Refit for a King of hotels
As deal for iconic King Eddie closes, reno plans include three floors of luxury condos

Tony Wong
Toronto Star
9 March 2010


Developer Gil Blutrich, right, called Canada’s Trump by some — and partner Michael Copper, CEO of Dundee Realty, in the Crystal ballroom of the iconic King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto.

Gil Blutrich is in the famed Crystal ballroom of Toronto's King Edward hotel giving a guest a tour of his latest acquisition.

There's a forlorn chandelier in one corner, surrounded by exposed wiring and dust. But Blutrich sees beyond the faded glory.

"There is so much history here. This is where Toronto society celebrated their biggest events," the Toronto developer said in an exclusive interview with the Star. "We are going to restore this hotel to what it used to be."

On Monday, Blutrich's Skyline International Development Inc. closed the deal on the iconic hotel - where the Beatles once stayed and where Richard Burton proposed to Elizabeth Taylor - for $48 million.

The Star has learned his partners include billionaire developer Alex Shnader, the man behind the Trump hotel in Toronto, the Serruya family, founders of the frozen desert chain Yogen Fruz and powerhouse developers Dundee Realty Corp.

The hotel will remain under the management of Starwood Hotels & Resorts under the Le Meridien brand, but Blutrich says he and his partners plan to extensively renovate the property.

Details are still being worked out, but three floors, which are unoccupied and formerly used for commercial space, will be turned into as many as 140 luxury condominiums with a starting price of $700 per square foot.

"When I came here from Israel 12 years ago, I did not imagine myself ever owning this place," Blutrich said with infectious enthusiasm. "This is really fantastic to be able to own a piece of history."

The hotel was built in 1903 by Toronto's then-richest man, George Gooderham and named after King Edward VII.

At one time it was the city's finest hotel. John Lennon and Yoko Ono had a "bed-in" for peace in one of the rooms. Elvis Presley stayed in the Royal Suite and Ernest Hemingway lived at the hotel while a reporter at the Toronto Star.

"The place is an absolute landmark, we're really excited about being a part of it," said Dundee Realty CEO Michael Cooper, standing in the Cafe Victoria Ballroom where he used to have meetings.

"This used to be where just about all of Bay St. used to come for lunch. I was about the only person in the room you wouldn't recognize."

Blutrich, through his Israel-based Mishorim Development Ltd., placed a $500,000, non-refundable deposit on the hotel last year before closing the deal Monday.

The property was originally being sold for $52 million, but the final price was $48 million after negotiations.

With the economic crunch, it seems like a deal.

The 298-room hotel on the corner of King and Victoria streets was owned by New York investment bank Lehman Bros., costing $62.5 million in 2006. Renovations were estimated at $17 million. Lehman Bros. went under in spectacular fashion during the 2008 global financing crisis, spiking a distress sale.

That means the partners are acquiring the hotel for more than $30 million less than Lehman Bros. paid.

But they will also have to put tens of millions into refurbishing the hotel. Blutrich figures the Crystal ballroom alone will cost $8 million to restore.

One large appeal of the property, said Blutrich, was that 30 per cent of it was unoccupied. The third, fourth and fifth floors are empty, while the cavernous Crystal ballroom on the penthouse level was at one time being used by fly fishermen to practise their casts.

On the ground floor there is empty retail space facing King St. that was formerly occupied by Scotiabank. Blutrich said executives from various international hospitality companies, including Venice's Cipriani restaurants, have already flown in to take a look at the possibility of opening a restaurant.

"We are hoping to have a very high-end bar here," he said.

And no tour is complete without a peek at the 2,500-square-foot Royal suite.

"Margaret Thatcher stayed here," said Blutrich, pointing out a separate entrance and room where her bodyguards could stay out of sight.

"At one time this was where all the VIPs stayed."

Since arriving in Canada from Israel, Blutrich has been collecting trophy Canadian real estate with the zeal of a schoolboy building a prized marble collection.

He owns two downtown boutique hotels, the Pantages and the Cosmopolitan, and several commercial buildings and apartment buildings in Ontario and Quebec.

Five years ago Blutrich purchased land in Port McNicoll, near Midland, with 11 kilometres of Georgian Bay waterfront with the idea of transforming it into a tourism gateway.

In 2008, he bought the Horseshoe Valley ski complex some 20 kilometres away with the intention of linking the two, creating a $1.7 billion mega "Georgian Valley" complex.

But his critics have said the irrepressible developer has bitten off more than he can chew with the addition of the King Eddie.

His blue-chip partners in the King Edward venture seem to think otherwise.

Blutrich is following a well-known game plan: In 2004, Israeli real estate development company El-Ad Group purchased the Plaza Hotel in New York and turned part of the building into the city's most expensive condominiums.

But analysts say the Toronto market is much smaller than New York, and moreover, the condominium-hotel market is getting awfully crowded.

An estimated 35,000 condominiums are expected to be completed this year. And in the next 12 months, a new Ritz Carlton, Shangri-La Four Seasons and Trump hotel are all expected to be in various stages of completion, an unprecedented spate of luxury hotels.

Hotel room rates in the Toronto market also took a 10 per cent hit in 2009 because of the global economic crisis, according to hotels.ca.

"Hotels had a very tough year," said John O'Bryan, vice-chairman of real estate consultancy CB Richard Ellis. "Discretionary spending was down, business travel was reduced and a high Canadian dollar gave little respite to owners and operators."

But Blutrich is undeterred.

"The Ritz and the Four Seasons are all very beautiful buildings, but they are new buildings. This building is historic. It's like comparing a 1950's Jaguar to a new Jaguar.

"There is a market for the old and the beautiful because this is absolutely one of a kind," said Blutrich.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 06:24 AM   #485
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What Toronto needs is some more high-rise condos. We really don't have very many of them.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 02:12 AM   #486
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Uhm..what is your definition of high-rise condos?
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Old March 13th, 2010, 05:43 AM   #487
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Uhm..what is your definition of high-rise condos?
Uhm...Ones that are tall. Let's say over 20 stories.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 06:32 AM   #488
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What Toronto needs is some more high-rise condos. We really don't have very many of them.
Really? We've got tons, many of them built over the past few years.

Ones I can think of: Residences of College Park, Murano, West One, N1, Luna, Montage, the Met, Panorama, West Harbour City, Spire, 1 King West, CASA, Bloor Street Neighbourhood.

Plus a whole bunch under construction: Trump, Uptown, Crystal Blu, Shangri La, Parade, Aura.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 07:02 PM   #489
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Yes - quite a lot of condo activity in Toronto. There's a huge project called Cityplace happening at the waterfront, in addition to the other in-fill projects within the downtown core.
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Old June 7th, 2010, 09:48 PM   #490
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Winning design for St. Lawrence Market's north building by Adamson Associates Architects and Rogers Stirk Harbour.


Local media coverage and additional info:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle1595038/

http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/06...wrence-market/

http://www.thestar.com/videozone/820...e-sun-shine-in


[IMG]http://i47.************/23ivtqd.jpg[/IMG]
http://pammcconnell.ca/wp-content/uploads/red1.jpg

[IMG]http://i45.************/op1u00.jpg[/IMG]
http://pammcconnell.ca/wp-content/uploads/red3.jpg

[IMG]http://i49.************/2mg32ok.jpg[/IMG]
http://pammcconnell.ca/wp-content/uploads/red2.jpg

Last edited by Elkhanan1; June 7th, 2010 at 10:20 PM.
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Old June 8th, 2010, 01:07 AM   #491
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Awesome! I was hoping this design would beat out the other ones. Great news and thank you for posting it.
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Old June 9th, 2010, 01:56 AM   #492
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I would like to say thanks for sharing nice images. I never went to this city but by after watching some images of this city, I want to go there.
Best city in the world
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Old June 9th, 2010, 04:17 AM   #493
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You echo my sentiments. I chose Toronto over all others in which to settle. Granted, I haven't been to Tokyo or Istanbul, but my gut tells me I've made the right choice.
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Old June 9th, 2010, 11:41 AM   #494
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Aga Khan Museum + Ismaili Centre (Fumihiko Maki + Charles Correa)

Info and images courtesy of interchange42 on UT.

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Below is the rendering of the full 6.8 hectare site. At the top left is the Ismaili Centre designed by the distinguished Indian architect Charles Correa, at the bottom right is the Aga Khan Museum designed by the renowned Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki. The buildings are sited within a park designed designed by noted Lebanese landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic.




The Ismaili Centre, the second in Canada and sixth in the world, will be a gathering place for prayer and a space for intellectual discourse through programmes ranging from lectures, and seminars, to exhibitions. The centre will also play host to cultural and social events. The intent is to create understanding of the values, ethics, culture and heritage of Ismaili Muslims, the work of the Aga Khan Development Network, and to search for mutual understanding among all communities and cultures.




The prayer hall of the Ismaili Centre as seen from the formal gardens. When the prayer hall is lit, the glass roof emits a warm glow from within.




The Aga Khan Museum as seen from the formal gardens.




The Aga Khan Museum will be dedicated to the collection, research, preservation, and display of works of art, objects and artefacts of artistic, cultural and historical significance from various periods and geographic areas of the Muslim world.




A gallery within the museum.




The museum's auditorium.




An example of art to be shown in the museum, this folio is from the Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp, Iran, Safavid, c. 1540.



For more information on the collections to be shown at the museum, please visit the Aga Khan Museum's website.


A view of the gardens in spring.




A view of the gardens in autumn.




The $300 Million complex is expected to be completed in 2013.

All renderings Copyright: Imara (Wynford Drive) Ltd. Folio photography by AKDN.

Foundation Ceremony attended by PM Stephen Harper, the Aga Khan, and honoured guests, during which the PM conferred honourary Canadian citizenship to the Aga Khan. UT had a ringside seat.

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UrbanToronto was very pleased to attend the Foundation Ceremony of the Aga Khan Museum, Ismaili Centre, and Park yesterday.























42

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Old June 9th, 2010, 12:49 PM   #495
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What a massive coup for Canada and wonderful validation of Canadianism. The Aga Khan is right about Canada: it's a beacon of pluralism for the world. Honourary Canadian citizenship was the perfect gesture.
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Old July 27th, 2010, 11:38 AM   #496
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very interesting proyectsss.
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Old August 24th, 2010, 06:51 PM   #497
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Councillors endorse transit museum
Toronto Star
August 23, 2010


A TTC museum, endorsed yesterday by transit commissioners, would be reliant mainly on private funding to tell the story of the TTC and the major role it plays in the city's life and image.
DAVID COOPER/TORONTO STAR


Shrugging off criticism about wasting money, the Toronto Transit Commission is going ahead with plans to create a transit museum in a new TTC headquarters.

City councillors who lead the TTC decided Monday to move forward with a $5.5 million museum and interpretive centre on the ground floor of a building going up at Yonge St. and York Mills Rd.

Most of the money is expected to be privately raised, but the city would provide the space and chip in $323,000 for initial studies and preparation.

Mayoral candidate George Smitherman has criticized the project, saying the TTC should focus on cleaning subway stations and fixing the escalators.

But the museum probably won’t go anywhere if private donors don’t step up, said Councillor Joe Mihevc, who sits on the TTC board, so approving it now won’t tie the hands of a new council to be elected Oct. 25.

A fundraising campaign could take two or three years. Mihevc said companies that supply transit equipment have already shown interest in contributing.

“We cannot do this on the backs of the taxpayers,” Mihevc said. “It has to be done via private donations. It would be very difficult for me to justify a visitors’ centre if it meant not putting better service on the road.”

A visitor centre could also be a marketing and public relations tool, drawing schoolchildren who will be future riders, said TTC chair Councillor Adam Giambrone.

“It’s very common across Europe, Asia, and all are very similar about telling their story, building the next generation of transit ridership,” Giambrone said.

It’s a popular idea in the heritage preservation community, he added. “There’s a group of dedicated individuals in this city who want to make this happen.”

Lord Cultural Resources, the museum consultant hired by the TTC, is recommending a museum comprising 18,300 square feet with 15-foot ceilings, specialty lighting and air conditioning.

The design hasn’t been firmed up yet, but a visitor might, for example, be able to watch vintage transit films inside an older-style General Motors bus fitted out as a theatre.

Planners also recommend displaying a horse-drawn streetcar, an original electric streetcar and a mockup of an old red Gloucester subway car.

The museum would feature exhibits on topics such as transit planning over the years, including lines and routes that were envisioned but never happened.

Displays would include sections on transit employees and the technical side of the system, showing how electrical propulsion works and offering details such as how many vehicles are in the system, how fast they move and how heavy they are.

Overall, the museum would portray how transit is integral to living in Toronto and how it forms part of the city’s image.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 03:18 PM   #498
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Transit fans critique museum plans
Toronto Star
August 24, 2010


Transit champion Steve Munro, a member of the museum's steering commitee, thinks a TTC museum should be located closer to other tourist attractions.
Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Aaron Vincent Elkaim


Years before it is expected to open, plans for a new Toronto transit museum are drawing fire from a member of the project’s own steering committee.

Longtime transit observer Steve Munro says the TTC is rushing the $5.5 million project to help justify a new head office at Yonge St. and York Mills Rd., being developed by Build Toronto.

The building is a “political football,” said Munro.

He wants the museum plans delayed until after the fall municipal election, when a new group of city councillors will sit on the Toronto Transit Commission.

“What’s the big rush? My hunch is that there’s an attempt to get it as far along as it can be while (TTC chair) Adam Giambrone is still in office to make it part of his legacy,” said Munro.

Giambrone said Tuesday he had nothing to add to previous comments that a museum would be a marketing tool, attracting school children who would be future transit riders. Many other transit properties, including New York and London have museums, he said.

Commissioners approved a consultant’s report Monday detailing plans for a 18,300-square-foot museum and interpretive centre with 15-foot ceilings, specialty lighting and air conditioning. Munro said he and other members of the steering committee had no prior knowledge of the report.

The museum plan calls for creating a non-profit foundation to fund the museum, but the transit commission has already spent $323,000 for planning and design work.

Mayoral candidate George Smitherman has said a new TTC headquarters and museum should fall below other priorities at the TTC, especially in customer service and cleanliness.

One historical writer suggests a transit museum might be better incorporated into a broader museum on Toronto’s past.

Mark Maloney, who is writing a book about Toronto’s mayors, said any new museum should be closer to downtown cultural destinations.

“As a history buff, I’m always of the view that it’s good to focus on history. But this proposal is in the wrong location — it’s away from the public,” he said.

Munro said he will raise his concerns with members of the steering committee in September.
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Old October 5th, 2010, 07:04 AM   #499
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Old October 5th, 2010, 07:23 AM   #500
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