Northern Light

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In a report to the next meeting of CreateTO's Board, we learn that a developer recently purchased 267 Merton Street and subsequently approached the City, who own the adjacent site at 275 Merton. The developer is offering to construct purpose-built rental, including rent-controlled and affordable units should the City's land be available for combined site development. Very interestingly, the developer is actually proposing to sell its land to the City, then lease back the entire site for 99 years.


From the above:

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More detail:

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****

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Whew! Now that everyone is past the TL : DR bit..... let me say, this sounds extremely promising.

Lets have a look at the site as is:

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Aerial Pic:

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Site Size: ~30,000ft2

@HousingNowTO is duly flagged.
 
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A private developer of a site at 267 Merton St., in midtown Toronto, has offered to the city an opportunity to collaborate on an affordable housing proposal that would incorporate the neighbouring offices of Toronto Water at 275 Merton St.

The site at 267 Merton St. is overly narrow for any meaningful project, and is currently home to a single detached dwelling and an auto body shop. There is no development application submitted for the site, which is located on a street lined with mid-rise apartment buildings ranging up to approximately 14 storeys.

The proposal has emerged from discussions between CreateTO staff and the developer, who is looking to harness underutilized space to introduce purpose-built rental homes, with a core focus on delivering affordable housing options.

Josh Matlow, the city councillor in whose ward the development is located, is positive towards the plan.

“In the midst of a housing crisis, it’s refreshing to see a proposal that includes such a large number of affordable units. That’s what we need more of,” he said. “We look forward to working with the applicant on a plan that leaves our community better, and more affordable, that they found it.”

The proposal involves the transfer of 267 Merton St. (554 square meters) to the city of Toronto for nominal consideration to be merged with the city-owned 275 Merton St. property (2,211 square meters). This amalgamation would pave the way for a purpose-built rental development, secured through a 99-year land lease to the private developer. The joint properties would undergo a rezoning process to attain the requisite height and density for the envisioned project.

Under the terms of the proposal, the developer assumes responsibility for all entitlements, design, and construction aspects of the development. Market rental units, affordable rental units, and public realm enhancements are integral components of the project, with funding allocated for the off-site relocation of the Toronto Water offices. The project will also align with the city’s goal of achieving a minimum target of 30% affordable rental units.
 
The above site is the subject of a report to next week's meeting of Planning and Housing Ctte:


The report would advance the proposal described above, with an eye to starting construction in Q3 2025, and delivering said housing in Q2 2028.

Additional details remain confidential at this time.
"Additional details remain confidential at this time" - Seems odd that a private developer is eligible to participate in a program reserved for non-profits. Would be very interesting to see what lives in the confidential attachments.
 
"Additional details remain confidential at this time" - Seems odd that a private developer is eligible to participate in a program reserved for non-profits. Would be very interesting to see what lives in the confidential attachments.
This is not a program reserved for non-profits; there is in fact no program here at all. This is a private developer voluntarily offering affordable housing through a partnership with the City.
 
"Additional details remain confidential at this time"

Most of the details will be public in due course.

- Seems odd that a private developer is eligible to participate in a program reserved for non-profits. Would be very interesting to see what lives in the confidential attachments.

@ADRM is on point above.

This came about because the developer owned a parcel that while not stranded could be not be optimally developed; their neighbour was the City of Toronto.

By merging the properties here the development opportunity is significantly greater.

Here, the City gets ownership of the combined parcel, and affordable housing.

While the developer will get a payback through residential rents over the term of the lease.

It should work out as win-win.
 
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What I find interesting about this is that the City-owned site could have been developed as a stand-alone by a private developer. The City might shy away from the conflict with the western neighbour (267) if not assembled, even though there's a reasonable planning argument to be made that it is unnecessary.

The assembly and proposal by privates gives the City the cover to proceed and removes the conflict. Not bad... guess this is an ACLP project.
 
This is not a program reserved for non-profits; there is in fact no program here at all. This is a private developer voluntarily offering affordable housing through a partnership with the City.
I'm guessing they are pursuing funding through the CMHC Affordable Housing Fund. Just very curious about the mechanisms of this deal. I also think this is a win-win if this type of model is successful.
 
What I find interesting about this is that the City-owned site could have been developed as a stand-alone by a private developer. The City might shy away from the conflict with the western neighbour (267) if not assembled, even though there's a reasonable planning argument to be made that it is unnecessary.

The assembly and proposal by privates gives the City the cover to proceed and removes the conflict. Not bad... guess this is an ACLP project.
I was wondering the same thing - ie where the synergies are of the combined sites...

I think with 267 you may be able to get 2 towers, but it is very tight.

The sites combined are about 76m x 37m. If you can get tower floor plate of 22m x 34m (roughly 750m2), with 20m separation distance between them, about 6m stepback to the east and west property lines, 3m to Merton, 0m to the back/south.... you could pull it off

Given Collecdev is looking to move fast on this, delivery a lot of affordable housing and achieve some energy efficiency, the city could be receptive to this 2 tower option...
 


Toronto City Council approves partnership to build more affordable housing in midtown Toronto​

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News Release
June 27, 2024
Toronto City Council has agreed to leverage City of Toronto-owned lands at 275 Merton St. to build 447 new purpose-built rental homes in midtown Toronto. This project includes a minimum target of 30 per cent affordable rental homes to remain affordable in perpetuity.
To maximize the site’s housing potential and help create more affordable rental homes, the City led negotiations through CreateTO to form a development partnership with Collecdev-Markee to combine the property at 275 Merton St. with an adjacent site owned by the developer.
The adjacent site – located at 267 Merton St. – will be transferred into City ownership and then leased back to Collecdev-Markee along with the City-owned site for a period of 99 years to enable the redevelopment. Collecdev-Markee will deliver and operate the new rental homes while the City will retain ownership of both properties.
Once leased to Collecdev-Markee, the development will follow the City’s standard planning application process. Construction of the 275 Merton project is anticipated to begin in the second half of 2025 with first occupancy in mid-2028.
The city is facing two housing crises – a lack of deeply affordable and supportive housing for low-income marginalized and vulnerable residents and, more recently, rising rents have made it increasingly unaffordable for middle income earners, essential workers and professionals to live in Toronto. Creating a range of new rental homes including rent-geared-to-income, affordable rental and rent-controlled homes is critical in addressing the housing needs of Toronto’s current and future residents.
This partnership provides an opportunity to leverage City land to deliver a range of rental homes including affordable rental homes in support of the City’s HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan targets to approve 65,000 new rent-controlled homes by 2030. More information about the HousingTO 2020-2023 Action Plan can be found on the City’s Website PDF.
More information about this proposed development is available on the CreateTO website (opens in new window).
Quotes:
“Through this partnership, the City is supporting a strategic land assembly that will deliver significant city-building benefits, including a substantial number of affordable and market rent-controlled homes. The proposed housing project is a much-needed step towards delivering on the City’s housing targets and will provide options for Torontonians of low-and moderate-income levels.”
– Mayor Olivia Chow
“One of the key aspects of the City’s HousingTO Plan is to use City lands and partnerships to enable the delivery of housing. We are at a critical moment in Toronto and we are finally building the housing we need in this city. Projects like this at 275 Merton Street are all part of the solution to bring real affordability to the people of Toronto and people who want to call Toronto home.”
– Councillor Gord Perks (Parkdale-High Park), Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee
“CreateTO is thrilled to bring this project at 275 Merton Street to life with a strong partner in Collecdev-Markee. Our mission is to unlock public land and activate it for the public good. Championing the City’s vision of providing affordable housing on City-owned lands is central to our mandate and approach.”
– Vic Gupta, CEO, CreateTO
“We need to be thinking differently about how we deliver housing in this city, and this partnership is an example of exactly that. My hope is it becomes a template for more partnerships to deliver desperately needed affordable housing in our city. Staff with the City and CreateTO have been absolutely fantastic to work with and we are excited to see this advance.”
– Jennifer Keesmaat, President & CEO, Collecdev-Markee
CreateTO was formed in 2018 as the City of Toronto’s real estate agency. The organization brings together stakeholders, partners and community members to ensure the best use of the City’s real estate assets for today and tomorrow. CreateTO manages the City’s $27 billion real estate portfolio, develops City buildings and lands for municipal purposes and delivers client focused real estate solutions – ensuring a balance of both community and economic benefits to build the city we love. More information is available on the CreateTO website.
 

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