Scarborough City Centre Property Negotiations Project
The City of Toronto, together with the TTC, is constructing an easterly extension of the Bloor-Danforth Subway (Line 2) to serve Scarborough’s 650,000 residents better. The proposed Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) project will replace the aging Scarborough RT and will extend Line 2 north and east from Kennedy Station to Sheppard Ave. This large line station will be implemented on land owned/managed by OMERS Realty/Oxford Properties Group and includes project construction within proximity to major tenants in a regional scale mall with 1.3M sq. ft. of retail space (201 stores) and over 4,000 parking spaces.
The design and construction of the SSE project take into account the Scarborough Centre Secondary Plan, the Scarborough Town Centre (STC) Transportation Master Plan, the emerging open space requirements in the area, and the development/TOD objectives of OMERS and the City of Toronto.
In 2016, Comtech was selected by TTC and the City of Toronto to provide Strategic Property/Real Estate Negotiation services. Comtech led negotiations with OMERS/Oxford with respect to the construction of the SSE project, which at the time, involved the termination of the SSE line at Scarborough Centre Station. This would have significantly impacted the parking, construction, and retail at the STC mall. Leading the negotiations on behalf of the clients for the property acquisition of Scarborough Centre Station involved providing the City/TTC with full-scope property negotiations services, hiring specialized sub-consultants responsible for the business loss and the cross-shopping retail impacts of the project on major tenants (including Cineplex Odeon) and OMERS/Oxford as the owners of the mall. Comtech provided the City/TTC with the following Strategic Property/Real Estate Negotiation services:
- Analysis of the need to relocate prime tenants in the mall prior to the commencement of project construction (including the site plan approval for such facilities).
- Minimizing the impact of project construction on mall pedestrian, transit and pedestrian access, coordination of utility relocations, geotechnical investigations, analysis of potential land exchanges, reconfiguration of the mall, and City roads to reflect land use planning/transportation/public realm objectives.
- Protection of future development sites including direct entrance connections to existing and future station entrances.
- In parallel with the design, construction, and property acquisition of the SSE project, various land use, planning, transportation, and open space studies were coordinated. This would result in revised pedestrian and cycling facilities, road cross-sections, and intersection geometry.
- Additionally, revised surface and structured parking facilities (including demolition/replacement of existing parking structures/mall loading docks, and new and improved access to potential development sites) would take place. All of these factors were accounted for in the future property and project agreements between the City, TTC and OMERS/Oxford.
- Working closely with Oxford to identify and analyze alternative construction logistic plans for the construction of the station and tunnel work. The goal was to find a preferred logistical sequence that minimizes project impacts on the mall and achieves project schedule objectives. Comtech was transparent in their process with property owners regarding project construction, schedule challenges, and formal involvement of Oxford in the review of the tunnel and station design submissions.
- Ultimately, the end-goal of the property negotiations were to result in the development of project budgets for property acquisition (temporary and permanent property parcels), budgets for business loss and injurious affection claims, execution of business loss agreements, a detailed design and construction agreement, land transfer agreements based on Reference plans, entrance connection agreements, and operating and maintenance agreements to facilitate the commencement of revenue services.
- A series of property principles were identified and agreed upon by all parties to guide the eventual development of project and property agreements.
- Specialist consultants were retained to advise the SSE project on business loss, cross-shopping impacts on the mall, retail relocation strategies, and injurious affection claims. This included an agreement in principle on a business case framework to relocate the Cineplex Odeon Theater to another location on the Scarborough Town Centre mall in order to facilitate project construction at a minimal cost to the project.
- Confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements were executed to allow the exchange of sensitive information and to inform property negotiations.
- A formal data request methodology was adopted which allowed all parties to keep track of data requests, time of data delivery, and any outstanding data required to support property negotiations.