Sunday, 21 April 2013

News: Proposed Toronto Casinos with Retail Components

With the proposed Toronto casino in the news lately, advocates and foes are lining up and taking sides on this contentious topic. While the port land's Westfield/Ferris wheel debacleis dead in the water, it’s a sure bet that if a casino is approved a mall will be an important part of any new development.

Toronto Shopkeeper thought it would be a good time to summarize the main proposals.

Oxford Place

A development by Oxford Properties (operators of both Yorkdale and Square One shopping centres) aims to redevelop the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and surrounding areas. While a casino of up to 450,000 square feet is the catalyst for the development, Oxford Place promises to include: one million square feet in convention space; a new public plaza built over the existing rail corridor; one million square feet in retail space; 2.5 million square feet in office space, 1.7 million square feet in new hotel space; 600,000 square feet in residential space; and 4000 new parking spots.

Oxford asserts that Oxford Place would be larger than a proposed Exhibition Place development, will be integrated into the city’s entertainment district, and will be accessible due to the proximity of Union Station and the PATH network. The Oxford proposal promises $5-$6 billion in investment.

Exhibition Place

Mayor Rob Ford has made it clear he favours a casino on the Exhibition Place grounds, as he believes the city can generate up to $100 million in annual revenue from a casino on this publicly owned property. MGM Resorts and Cadillac Fairview have put forward their plan for a “Integrated Resort” which would include a casino, hotel space, convention space, and a significant retail component.

MGM and Cadillac Fairview claim their $2-4 billion development will create 10,000 new jobs and estimate that new visitors will spent $1 billion annually in non-gaming activities. The companies say that only at Exhibition Place would there be enough room to build a casino large enough to attract international tourists.

The MGM Toronto proposal trumpets the fact that Exhibition Place would become a year round destination and promises to work with the Canadian National Exhibition to ensure the annual fair could continue.

Toronto Shopkeeper is a fairly lukewarm on the idea of a Toronto Casino. What do you think? Connect on Twitter @toshopkeeper.

[Oxford Place source material via Oxford Properties]
[MGM Toronto source material via MGM Resorts/Cadillac Fairview.]