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Premier Doug Ford’s government says developers can pay the extra costs of a three-stop Scarborough subway. Experts simply say that plan is “far-fetched”. Read why: thestar.com/news/city_hall…
Basically, the province says they’ll offer developers land in exchange for building of two extra stations, 1 km of tunnel. I asked the ministry a bunch of questions, including if they were considering any other financial incentives. They just talked land and air rights
So, we looked at what scale of development a builder would need to be allowed in order to offset even the cost of building one station. And, the math says it would be the single biggest private real estate project going in Toronto. At Lawrence/McCowan and also Sheppard/McCowan
We are talking between 4-13 Aura Towers - the 78-storey, high-rise condo at Yonge/Gerrard - at Lawrence & McCowan, for example. Multiple Honest Ed’s sites. Far more units than have been proposed in the core of Scarborough over five years
Assembling enough land for that scale of development would require a lot of expropriation. Most importantly, there just isn’t the demand, experts say, noting developers have to consider what can be sold and how quickly
Whether this provincial government is really serious about this developers pay idea is another question. Much of what I asked was responded to with talking points. It’s not clear how long the province will take to decide how to move forward on this project
We know council was meant to consider costs of a one-stop subway this month - now delayed until April. Without a replacement it’s not clear how long the SRT can safely operate and how long Scarborough residents could be left on the bus
It’s worth noting what Tory said last week. He’s fine with the province’s plan for more stations assuming “any development that produced the money for that would have to be compatible with the city’s planning guidelines and with neighbourhoods that those transit stations are in”
As someone who has been to Lawrence/McCowan and understands how development works in this city, it was fairly obvious to me that the mayor’s terms could not be met without even doing any math. Tory has also been there and also has a grasp on the development process
Before the province’s plan, Tory was about to face one of the biggest tests of his administration when the updated costs of the subway were presented and he would have likely had to reckon with not having enough $ to build even one stop on the line he’s championed for five years
It’s never going to be possible for a developer to come in and build just one tower on top of a suburban station and call it a day. Those economics don’t work. The question is: What does the province and Mayor Tory plan to do about it?
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