May 6, 2010

Toronto Transit Commission board members, today, authorized TTC staff to begin work on a framework for a long-term lease of office space in a building owned by Build Toronto at 4050 Yonge St.

For the last two years, TTC staff has undertaken an extensive review of its office space needs, including assessing opportunities for consolidation of space to maximize efficiencies. TTC head office is currently located at 1900 Yonge St. The building was built in 1956 and requires a capital investment in the next five years of some $30 million, including a sprinkler system, window replacement, HVAC system upgrades, masonry repairs and structural modifications to support any future office needs.

In addition, the TTC leases office space in seven separate facilities across the city at an annual cost of about $8.6 million.

The cost of leasing office space is an annual TTC cost. Relocating head office would not change that. Office space is required to support all transit operations. The TTC has a $1 billion annual capital budget that includes transit vehicles, and state of good repair for station maintenance and modernization to support operations and TTC customers.

“What is clear from the extensive review of our space plans is that there are opportunities to save money and improve operational efficiencies by rationalizing our space requirements at one integrated location,” said TTC Chair Adam Giambrone.  “The potential relocation of the TTC headquarters will only proceed if the economic case clearly shows cost savings and improved operational efficiencies of such a move."

The approved report today allows TTC and Build Toronto staff to begin working on the details of what it would cost to occupy office space in a facility that is built and owned by Build Toronto. The TTC will not be constructing a new facility for its staff. Any decision to enter into an agreement with Build Toronto will be based on economics - efficiencies and cost-effectiveness.

"Build Toronto is excited about continuing to work towards providing an economical and efficient solution to the TTC's long-term accommodation needs," said Build Toronto CEO Lorne Braithwaite. "An office at Yonge and York Mills provides a unique opportunity to develop this site for employment use consistent with all of our public policy objectives."

Next steps include the preparation of an offer to lease document in August and final pricing in October of this year. If all approvals are obtained and the decision to lease centralized office space is more economical than the status quo, then construction would begin next year, with occupancy in 2014. The office at 1900 Yonge St would then be turned over to Build Toronto for future development opportunities.

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