CIBC Square / GO Bus Commuter Terminal (Union Station)

132 Queens Quay East

Toronto, Ontario

CIBC Square / GO Bus Commuter Terminal (Union Station)

Type: New construction
Size: 2,900,000 sf
Project Cost: $2,106 million
Development Partners:
—Ivanhoé Cambridge
—Hines
—Metrolinx
—City of Toronto
—Government of Ontario
Status: In development, projected opening 2020 (81 Bay Street) and 2023 (141 Bay Street)
 

CIBC Square / GO Bus Commuter Terminal (Union Station) is a new transit hub which includes a bus station within a two-building office development project. Built in two phases, it includes retail, office towers, underground parking and a landscaped, one-acre elevated ‘sky park’ over the rail corridor that connects the two buildings at the fourth floor level. Each building features 49 floors of office and collaborative spaces designed to exemplify innovation, connectivity and sustainability. The project will include CIBC’s new world headquarters in Toronto.

Complexity / Collaboration

A complex aspect was determining how to suc- cessfully integrate a bus terminal into a ‘Class A’ office building. It took three years once talks officially began between the developer and Metrolinx
– i.e. the regional transit agency that operates GO Transit and will manage the bus terminal  before each partner determined that they could do the project and work out logistics. The developers main concern had to do with design: in thinking about the office tenants they wanted to attract, they didn’t want the project to feel like a bus terminal, and vice versa.

User Interaction / Partnership Framework

The project is the result of a joint effort between Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines, two global real estate leaders, who entered into a co-ownership agreement to develop and manage CIBC Square as equal partners and investors. In 2007 Ivanhoé Cambridge acquired 81 Bay Street (formerly 45 Bay and used as a parking lot) followed by a series of subsequent acquisitions of additional land and air rights over the rail corridor. Metrolinx sold its property at 141 Bay in exchange for a long-term 99-year lease of the new bus terminal at the base of the office development planned. The development gives Metrolinx needed expanded capacity by integrating it with with PATH and with Union station. It is expected to offer a 50 per cent increase in bus capacity. An additional advantage  is that the terminal will move south of the train tracks, allowing access to double-decker buses which were previously blocked by a bridge.
 

Cost / Funding

The cost to Mextrolinx for the new terminal is set at more than $106-million, with at least $30-million of that coming from the sale of the site of the current terminal. The remainder will come from Metrolinx’s capital budget.

Risk

Phasing lowers the risks in this project. In Toronto new building under construction are generally substantially leased by the time they open. Because the new bus terminal needs to be running before the old terminal can be demolished to make way for the second tower, the project gives the developers more time to find tenants for the second phase. The developers are also considering adding retail to the project. Given the rail corridor, people would need to go up at least four storeys, a challenge as stores tend to thrive with easy access. The developers hope to transform the connection between the two buildings into an amenity.

Unique Features

ClBC Square claims to be a transformative city-building development. It will be one of the last office developments with a Bay Street address in the business district, with the largest floorplates available in downtown Toronto. The bus terminal aims to provide Ontarians with a more integrated and seamless travel experience. In bringing people, companies and infrastructure together, it is cited as a visionary example of what government can achieve in partnership with the private sector, epitomizing the best of transit-oriented development.
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