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Metrolinx takes first step towards rail + property in Toronto


I’ve written quite a bit about the advantages of a “rail + property” model when it comes to building public transit. It’s a model that works quite successfully in other parts of the world, such as in Hong Kong.

However, in North America the notion of land value recapture or of transit authorities acting as real estate developers is still very much in its infancy. We’re myopically focused on rail. 

Which is why I said about 3 months ago that if the stations along the new Eglinton Crosstown LRT line in midtown Toronto became single storey and single purpose buildings, that we will have missed an enormous city building opportunity.

Since that post I had a number of conversations with the folks over at Metrolinx and I was delighted to learn that there were in fact plans to build additional density on top of the stations. And as of today they’ve gone completely public with that intention.

Metrolinx, with the help of Avison Young, has just issued a request for proposal (RFP) for 4 sites along Eglinton Avenue in the city. Two of them are at Keele Street, one of them is at Weston Road, and the last one is at Bathurst Street. The 4 sites could generate between $14M – $22M.

The objective is to find suitable developer partners to help them build on top of their planned LRT stations. And it’s a step in exactly the right direction for Metrolinx and this city.

Image Source: Google Streetview

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