The University of Toronto is laying the groundwork for future academic initiatives by acquiring four acres of land bordered by College Street and Spadina Avenue, near its St. George campus.
The purchase of the land will allow the university to shape the future use of a prominent gateway to its campus. The site is currently occupied by The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, which is one of U of T’s fully affiliated hospital partners. CAMH will continue to operate on the site as long as needed. The hospital’s lease will expire in 2038, with an option to renew for another 20 years.
“This is great news for U of T,” said Meric Gertler, U of T president, in a press release. “This investment will benefit future generations of faculty and students, and will allow the university to continue its work as an important city builder.”
The move comes at an important time for U of T as it considers its long-term land use through a review of its Secondary Plan and prepares for a major revitalization of King’s College Circle through its Landmark project.
The newly acquired land is across the street from the recently renovated facility that houses the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at One Spadina Crescent, which is gaining renewed prominence as a landmark of the city. The acquisition of the nearby parcel of land will create an important link to this site and continue the university’s efforts to create a welcoming entrance to its St. George campus from the west.
“This is a rare chance for us to acquire a strategic piece of property within our campus precinct and make sure it will be used in ways that support our academic mission for years to come,” said Professor Scott Mabury, U of T’s vice president of operations. He went on to add that the purchase is the most significant addition to the campus in decades.
U of T is purchasing the property from a fund managed by Brookfield Asset Management for $123 million. The site includes three buildings built in 1968, a house on College Street currently being used as office space and a parking garage. The majority of the purchase will be funded with long-term debt, with some money coming from reserves and cash.
Long-term, the university intends to consult broadly as it develops plans for the site, which is likely to be the home of future academic, research, innovation and residential projects for students, faculty and staff.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the university,” added Mabury. “This is a once-in-a-generation chance for us to shape this major intersection where the university and the city meet. We have an obligation to future students and researchers to make this investment and ensure this land is available for their use for decades to come.”