Canadian developer bets big on comeback of cities

Rendering of Canada Square (Oxford)

Rendering of Canada Square (Oxford)

One major Canadian developer is making a big bet that urban centers will rebound after the pandemic.

Oxford Properties Group, the real estate division of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, is planning a $2 billion megadevelopment in midtown Toronto, according to Bloomberg. The developer wants to bring a mix of apartments, offices and retail to a 9.2-acre area that’s largely parking lots.

The development, dubbed “Canada” Square,” would have five new skyscrapers totaling 3 million square feet. The rest of the area would be turned into parkland.

The site of its proposed project sits along Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue. A wave of development has brought a young population into the area, hence its nickname “Young and Eligible.”

Oxford is no stranger to projects of such scale: It’s Related Companies’ partner on the 26-acre Hudson Yards megaproject on Manhattan’s Far West Side. In Toronto, Oxford is also building a convention center, offices, apartments and retail over railway tracks next to Rogers Centre, where the Blue Jays play.

Still, the planned project comes at a time when city dwellers have been fleeing to the suburbs in droves. And many companies are reconsidering their real estate footprints after the success — and potential cost savings — of working from home. [Bloomberg] — Danielle Balbi

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