Transit Toronto is sponsored by bus tracker and next vehicle arrivals. TransSee features include vehicle tracking by route or fleet number, schedule adherence, off route vehicles and more advanced features. Works on all mobile devices and on any browser.
Supports Toronto area agencies TTC, GO trains, MiWay, YRT, HSR and GRT, as well as NY MTA, LA metro, SF MUNI, Boston MBTA, and (new) Barrie.

Private firm lands Union Station deal

Unnamed company to handle leasing for new retail concourse planned in revamp

Tess Kalinowski
John Spears
Urban affairs reporters

Published On Fri Aug 07 2009

Toronto City Council has appointed a private company to handle retail leasing at Union Station, one of the final steps before it kicks off a mammoth revitalization of the country’s biggest transit hub.

The city now has “a partner that will help us ensure the retail part of this destination can be achieved,” said Mayor David Miller. The firm won’t be named until the lease is signed at a date that is yet to be determined.

The agreement cements a $640 million plan to revitalize Toronto’s 1920s heritage landmark, that includes funding from the city, province and Ottawa.

Union Station is poised to join the league of “remarkable” station renovations that have transformed transportation hubs in London and U.S. cities, said Miller, who confessed a soft spot for rail stations.

Miller’s grandfather, with whom he lived as a child, ended his career as deputy station master of the Liverpool Street rail station in London - which was redeveloped in the 1980s.

“Railway stations have been part of my life since the beginning,” Miller told council.

Union Station plans call for a new lower-level retail concourse that will require digging down an additional three metres.

The leasing company contracted by the city has expertise in managing millions of square feet of retail, according to Miller.

While the city’s day-to-day operating budget is under pressure because of rising welfare costs and other factors, Miller said Toronto won’t have difficulty financing its $305 million share of the Union Station project because its credit rating remains strong.

The recent labour settlement strengthens the city’s financial position because it decreases the liability for banked sick days, Miller said. Having a private-sector partner also eases the city’s financial burden, he said.

Construction is expected to begin early next year, with a completion date in 2015.

If Toronto wins its bid to host the 2015 Pan American Games, areas needed to serve the games will be functioning by then.

Other key features of the station makeover include a new northwest passage to the PATH underground walkway and an area dedicated to the new rail link to the airport.

The station’s GO concourse areas, often overcrowded in catering to an estimated 43 million regional commuters annually, will be tripled in size.

That will help accommodate an expected doubling of ridership over the next 20 years.

The station also accommodates 20 million subway riders and 2.4 million VIA rail travellers annually. The three streams add up to twice as much traffic in a year as Pearson airport.

GO Transit will move its head office into the west wing of the station and is building a new roof over the train shed, the part of the station it owns.

A glass atrium in the middle will be flanked by what’s expected to become the biggest “green roof” in Canada. That part of the overhaul is to begin in the fall for completion by 2014.

The original train shed was built during the Depression, with an anticipated lifespan of about 20 years.

A second subway platform and redesigned mezzanine where the TTC collector booths are located will cost an additional $137.5 million between 2010 and 2013, according to TTC spokesperson Brad Ross. That money is coming from Waterfront Toronto, which is overseeing the waterfront renewal.