Restoration and Redevelopment of Toronto\'s Union Station

Toronto’s historic Union Station is about to go through restoration and redevelopment. In August 2000, the City of Toronto and GO Transit completed the purchase of historic Union Station, the adjacent CP Express building and the rail corridor between Strachan Avenue and the Don River from the Toronto Terminals Railway Company Limited (TTR), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway. The $80 million deal included a $55 million contribution by GO Transit, which also received a 99-year lease of space within Union Station. The deal also included a long-term lease of space to VIA Rail. The transaction took more than three years to negotiate and close and brought to an end years of arbitration between the city and TTR over back rent owed by TTR for a part of Union Station that was perpetually ground leased.

As of February 2001, the city, working with the Federal Ministry of Transport and other stakeholders, is underway with plans to reconfigure the station’s transportation components and redevelop approximately 200,000 square feet of space within Union Station for retail, commercial and other uses. GO Transit is proceeding with plans to redevelop the CP Express building into a GO bus terminal. A restored and redeveloped Union Station will play a significant role in the city’s waterfront redevelopment plans and will have positive implications for the 2008 Olympic bid.

For the purchase, the City of Toronto was represented in-house by Patty Simpson, senior solicitor with the City of Toronto, and by Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, with a team led by Bob Bauer, who was assisted by Donald Stanbury, Gabriella Lombardi and Rod Davidge. Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP acted for GO Transit with a team that included George Valentini, Rosemary Grenside, Peter White, Brian Bucknell and Frank Vivacqua. TTR was represented by Wayne Rosenman and Jerry Prypasniak of WeirFoulds LLP, with title work assistance from Robin McGillis of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP.

The city, with the Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP team continuing to act as external counsel and Patty Simpson taking on a project co-ordinator role, is continuing with the redevelopment process for Union Station and has just short-listed three private-sector development consortiums to proceed with proposals for redevelopment and operation.