Toronto Star Building on the Market

The Toronto Star parking lot is about to become the latest piece of land to succumb to the city’s condominium craze, according to multiple sources. A deal is expected to close in the coming days that would see Vancouver-based Pinnacle International Realty Group develop the project which is expected to include up to three towers. The existing office tower at One Yonge St., home to the Toronto Star which has a long-term lease for its space, will not be impacted by the development.

I’m sure it will be something iconic … They are planning multiple towers. It will be a major Yonge Street address with great water views “The actual Toronto Star building will not be touched,” said a source close to the deal, who did not want his name used. The newspaper has options which could extend its lease another 20 years.

The price tag for the current deal is expected to far exceed what the building sold for about 12 years ago.

Torstar Corp. said in August 2000 that it had sold One Yonge Street to a private holding company represented by Osmington Inc. which is controlled by the Thomson family. The sale netted Torstar $40-million and produced a gain of $22-million.

“It will be far north of that,” said one source close to the deal, in reference to the latest sale price.

At the time of the deal, Osmington indicated the newspaper had a long-term lease at One Yonge St. but the real estate company was “looking at what we can do with the parking,” noting its location close to the Air Canada Centre, which had just opened a year earlier. Torstar bought the building in 1996 from a creditor group but sold it shortly afterward, describing the building as a non-core asset and saying the strength of the real estate market at the time created an opportunity for the sale.

“I’m sure it will be something iconic,” said a source. “They are planning multiple towers. It will be a major Yonge Street address with great water views.”

The revitalization of the waterfront near Yonge has made the area ripe for development, said the source. “Investors are looking for more triple A projects than just run-of-the-mill projects. It makes sense to locate close to transit, close to the subway.”

One industry developer said the land could be worth as much as $70 to $75 per buildable square foot in today’s real estate market. “It’s a big lot, so we are talking very big numbers,” said the developer.