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TTC considers new 'green' HQ

Transit system faces critique,
but says it would move only if it makes sense cost-wise

By Tess Kalinowski
Transportation Reporter

The TTC is considering moving on up, abandoning its longtime head office over the Davisville subway for a brand new “green” building being planned at Yonge St. and York Mills by Build Toronto, for occupancy by 2014.

The move, which officials say would happen only if doing so proved cost-effective, would consolidate under one roof about 1,000 TTC employees working in leased offices around the city.

Although TTC real estate matters are always dealt with in private, mayoral candidate George Smitherman criticized the commission Wednesday for secretly planning a head office move and failing to focus on providing better transit facilities and service.

But TTC chair Adam Giambrone said it’s not about moving to fancier quarters.

The Davisville headquarters, built in 1956, houses about 300 employees in about 80,000 square feet. It needs about $30 million in renovations over the next five years, including a sprinkler system, new windows and masonry repairs.

The TTC needs to accommodate more staff, including engineers and project managers working on Transit City plans and the Spadina subway extension, Giambrone said. The funding for their office space is included in the money allocated to these projects by senior governments.

“You literally do not have the space (at Davisville) and by law you have to install sprinkler systems,” he said.

The York Mills site is the first to be developed by Build Toronto, the arm’s-length agency formed last year to maximize the city’s real estate assets. Near both TTC and GO stations, it would be designed to high environmental standards and built with private financing.

Build Toronto, which is holding public consultations on the project, has applied for a zoning amendment to exceed the city’s seven-storey height restriction, in hopes of building a partial eighth floor with a solar chimney, part of an energy-efficient heating and cooling system.

The TTC owns the Davisville office but would be leasing about half the space in the new facility if the commission decides to move there. The Davisville building would be considered surplus and would probably revert back to Build Toronto for redevelopment.

City councillors on the transit commission will hear a confidential report on the matter at a meeting Thursday.




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