Toronto developer plans 60 acre mixed-use development at former IBM headquarters site

Crosstown Aspen Ridge image

Ontario Construction News staff writer

A Concord-based developer says it is planning a mixed use neighbourhood to house more than 10,000 people at the intersection of Eglinton Ave. and Don Mills Road at the site of the former IBM headquarters campus.

The 60-acre Aspen Ridge Homes development, called Crosstown, will include eight condominium buildings, 30 townhome buildings, 300,000 sq. ft. of office space, restaurants and cafes, more than five acres of parks and playgrounds – and a community centre complete with two hockey rinks, a basketball court and a full gym, the developers say in a statement.

The site was obtained from Celestica, which evolved from IBM in the 1990s, by Aspen Ridge Homes, DG Group and and Metrus Properties, RENX (The Real Estate News Exchange) reported in March.. The companies are part of Condrain Group, which is controlled by the De Gasperis family.

Celestica had planned to sell its building since the latter part of the last decade, but ultimately held off pending rezoning allowing the site to be used for residential as well as employment and industrial activities, RENX reported.

A recent company annual report said: “In anticipation of the sale, in November 2017, we entered into a long-term lease in the Greater Toronto Area for our new manufacturing operations. We completed this relocation in February 2019. As part of the sale, we will enter into a long-term lease for our new corporate headquarters on commercially reasonable arm’s-length terms.

“In connection therewith, we are relocating our corporate headquarters to a temporary location while space in a new office building (to be built by the purchaser of the property on the site of our current location) is under construction, and entered into a three-year lease for such temporary offices in September 2018.
“The temporary office relocation is currently expected to be completed by the end of the first half of 2019.”

On March 11, Celestica issued a statement saying that it had “received total proceeds of approximately $110 million US, including a high-density bonus and an early vacancy incentive related to the temporary relocation of the company’s corporate headquarters” for the Celestica campus site, which it fully owned.

Celestica’s manufacturing operations are now based at 213 Harry Walker Pkwy. S. In Newmarket, north of Toronto.

Celestica’s head office will move into about 100,000 square feet in a new office tower to be built on the corner of Eglinton and Don Mills, Mike Czestochowski, CBRE Canada Land Services Group executive vice-president, told RENX. He brokered the sale with senior vice-president Lauren White.

Czestochowski said the tower will have approximately 100,000 more sq. ft. to lease, preferably to larger tenants, and interest has already been expressed.

“The location itself gives the project a unique advantage. Crosstown links to Toronto’s largest park system, which includes Seaton Park, the 150 acres of Sunnybrook Park and Wilket Creek Park,” as well as access to the new Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit station at the Ontario Science Centre, Aspen Ridge Homes said in its statement.

The site is the former location of IBM’s 223,337 sq. ft. headquarters, opened in 1967 with a building designed by Canadian architect John. B. Parkin.

Aspen site gta don mills
The site today (Google Maps)

“That historic silhouette will be preserved as the base of three of the Crosstown towers,” Aspen Ridge says. “The rest of the property will be reinvented with a blend of condo and townhouse buildings—5,000 units and 300 units, respectively, totalling 5,300 homes—along with green and recreational spaces, all pulled together with tree-lined streets and pedestrian pathways. Condominiums will feature one-, two- and three-bedroom suites in mid- and high-rise buildings, while townhomes will come in three types—stacked, traditional and back-to-back.”

Existing employment will remain in the neighbourhood. Celestica will relocate to a new building within the development.

Core Architects is designing the project, with interior design by Mike Niven Design Inc. The landscape architect is Gustavo Maurano of MBTW Group. Metrus will develop the commercial spaces, the developers say.


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