Toronto to test pension fund interest in Union Station

City will invite pension fund investors to consider investing in the revitalization of Toronto’s historic Union Station

Toronto (14 January 2008) – The city of Toronto will invite pension fund investors to consider investing in the revitalization of Toronto’s historic Union Station, according to a story in today’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

A call for "expressions of interest" is likely to take place this week, as the city looks to private and public partners to move ahead with plans to give the country's busiest transit hub a $388 million facelift.

"The advice we have is there will be significant private-sector interest in participating in this project," says Toronto Mayor David Miller, who won a 39-5 vote at council in December to move ahead on a facelift of the landmark owned by the city since 2000. This week's call to pension funds "will be the first signal whether the advice is right and I am confident it is," he said.

Only a small number of Canadian public-pension funds, all with real-estate companies, have the qualifications to lead a bid group.

Cadillac Fairview Corp. is an arm of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan; Oxford Properties Group belongs to the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System; and Ivanhoe Cambridge is owned by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, British Columbia Investment Management Corp., and Public Sector Pension Investment Board have significant real-estate holdings.

Potential investors will have about a month to respond to the city, which in turn will decide who qualifies to bid.

Typically, government contracts include unique restrictions. In the case of Union Station, the unusual requirement is that 51 per cent of the beneficial interest and equity funding must come from Canadian public pension funds.

 

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