Oxford to develop C$3bn mixed-use complex in Toronto

The real estate arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System plans to build one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in North America.

Oxford Properties Group has unveiled plans for Oxford Place, a massive C$3 billion (€2.37 billion; $3.1 billion) mixed-use complex in downtown Toronto. Oxford is the real estate arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System, which is one of Canada’s largest pension plans with more than $55 billion in net assets.

Covering an entire city block, Oxford Place would be one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in North America, spanning 11 acres and comprising 7.35 million square feet of space. The proposed project would encompass a 1.1-million-square-foot convention centre, 2.5 million square feet of office space, 1 million square feet of retail, 600,000 square feet of residential space, a 450,000-square-foot casino, 1.7 million square feet of hotel and amenity space and a 5.5-acre public park.

Oxford Place, which would be funded entirely by the private sector, would involve the redevelopment and expansion of the existing 260,000-square-foot Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Oxford acquired the property from Canada Lands, an arm’s length federal agency, for close to C$240 million last fall.

The project also would bring the first casino to Canada’s largest city, which would be funded, built and operated by a firm selected by the province of Ontario. The project is contingent on support from the City of Toronto for gaming in the city and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation selection process for a casino operator.

“Although the casino itself represents less than 10 percent of the project’s area, it is a necessary and essential catalyst for the entire development and is a use that will be complementary to Toronto’s core in the way that we have designed and conceived it,” said Michael Kitt, Oxford’s executive vice president for Canada, in a statement.

Toronto is Oxford’s largest investment market, where it holds approximately $9 billion in assets under management. The firm currently is developing a number of other significant commercial developments in the city, including the 930,000-square-foot RBC Waterpark Place and the $220 million expansion at Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

Oxford also has a number of large-scale urban development projects in New York and London. Most notable is Hudson Yards, a 12 million-square-foot, mixed-use complex in New York being built in conjunction with the Related Companies. It currently is the largest private real estate project in the US.