Unique partnership Unveils New Weston Community Development

TORONTO, June 22, 2016 /CNW/ - Mayor John Tory today joined a coalition of partners and Weston community members to break ground on a vibrant new community development in Toronto's Weston neighbourhood. Today's event previewed how the site – currently a Green P parking lot and an adjacent high-rise between King and John Streets – is being re-envisioned as a lively gathering place for this community.

Weston has been identified by the City of Toronto as a Neighbourhood Improvement Area and has had no private investment for more than 40 years. Now, following extensive community consultation and engagement, collaboration between Rockport Group, the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA), Artscape, and Woodbourne Capital Management, and the work of City of Toronto officials who facilitated the process, the diverse community will benefit from new facilities and programs.

"The transformation of the Weston community shows how we can reimagine Toronto and build up the city when we work together," said Mayor John Tory. "Through this public-private partnership, residents are going to get a complete neighbourhood with mixed housing, public space for farmers' markets, and space dedicated for arts and cultural events. It's a great tribute to Councillor Nunziata and her constituents that we can stand here today and celebrate the start of a development that will spark a social and economic revitalization in Weston and the entire neighbourhood." 

The development will operate as a dynamic hub of the Weston community and include:

  • 8,200 square feet dedicated to arts, cultural and community events programming
  • 370 apartment units, including six affordable rental homes
  • 12,400 sq. ft. of outdoor publicly accessible space for community gatherings and farmers' markets
  • 26 affordable live/work units for artist led families.

 

Frances Nunziata, Councillor for Ward 11 - York South-Weston who has long championed this project noted the positive effects the investment will have on the community.

"I am pleased that after years of hard work on the part of The Rockport Group, Artscape, the Toronto Parking Authority, the Weston community, and the many City staff who have touched this project, we are breaking ground," said Frances Nunziata, Councillor for Ward 11 - York South-Weston. "All eyes will be on this development in the years ahead to see how this innovative, public-private partnership will help bring new life to Weston Village and I am happy to have been a part of it."

For the Toronto Parking Authority, the project is the first that encompasses its newly adopted Community Benefits Policy, which states that the TPA incorporate community benefits whenever establishing, refurbishing or redeveloping its off-street parking facilities.

"The TPA is very excited about being a part of this redevelopment project for the Weston area," said Giorgio Mammoliti, Councillor for Ward 7 – York West and TPA Board Member. "It is a prime example of how communities can benefit when public and private sectors work together on joint ventures, something we will be doing from now on through our new Community Benefits policy."

The Rockport Group, a Toronto based fully integrated real estate services provider, is playing a prominent role in the project as the lead developer.

 "Rockport and its partners are pleased to bring their real estate experience and expertise to an opportunity where there is so much potential community benefit. The best projects serve the community, make use of underutilized or idle resources and inspire others to make investments in the community," said Jack Winberg, Rockport Group CEO.

With the arts, culture and community-led programming a central aspect of the space, the indoor and outdoor arts and culture programming will be managed by the creative placemaking organization Artscape, a not-for-profit urban development organization that makes space for creativity and transforms communities.

"Artscape is thrilled to be collaborating with the City of Toronto, Rockport, the Toronto Parking Authority, local residents and businesses and many others to build a community cultural hub in Weston," said Artscape CEO Tim Jones. "Culture has proven to be a powerful force in community development and we hope this project will become a model of how to generate positive change in all parts of the city."

Weston Village BIA President Masum Hossain and Weston Residents Association Chair Dave McBride were also in attendance to mark the occasion and participate in the groundbreaking.

About Toronto
Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

About Rockport
For almost 60 years, Rockport has developed and built innovative projects and has provided thousands of people in Toronto, and the GTA wonderful places to live, work and play. Rockport was an early adopter of the ideas of "intensification" and making the most of urban resources. We are focused on the delivery of high quality mid-and high-rise condominiums, outstanding retirement residences, leading edge purpose built rental apartments, and unique retail/commercial environments. Rockport's unsurpassed commitment to "thinking like a customer" and our attention to detail has earned us our reputation as one of Toronto's leading providers of outstanding real estate services and product. For more information about Rockport's other exciting projects please visit www.rockportgroup.net

About Artscape
Artscape is a not-for-profit urban development organization that makes space for creativity and transforms communities. Since its beginning in 1986, Artscape has become recognized as an international leader in creative placemaking, a practice that leverages the power of art, culture and creativity to catalyze change, growth and transformation in communities. Artscape achieves its mission through developing and managing 10 unique cultural facilities—including community cultural hubs, multi-purpose creative spaces and artist live/work projects—and by delivering programs and services that create the conditions for artists to thrive. www.artscape.ca

About the TPA
The Toronto Parking Authority is a self-sustaining public corporation owned by the City of Toronto. It contributes significant revenues to the City's general reserves while successfully meeting its mandate to provide safe, attractive, conveniently located and competitively priced off- and on-street public parking, required by commercial strips and neighbouring residential areas to survive. Recognized as a world leader in parking technology services, the Parking Authority has been successful in ensuring that businesses in these areas continue to grow and neighbourhoods remain vibrant.

SOURCE The Toronto Parking Authority

Image with caption: "(L - R): Students from the Hammer Heads program (in orange construction vests); Lorne Persiko, President Toronto Parking Authority; local poet Paulina O'Kieffe; Tim Jones, CEO, Artscape; Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, board member, Toronto Parking Authority; Jack Winberg, CEO, Rockport Group; Elke Rubach, board member, Toronto Parking Authority; Sean Gadon, Director of Affordable Housing, City of Toronto; His Worship John Tory, Mayor of Toronto; local Councillor Frances Nunziata; Dave McBride, Chair, Weston Residents Association; Masum Hossasin, President, Weston Village BIA; Benjamin de Graaf, DJ Elegance; Pru Robey, Vice President, Artscape; Richard Joy, Executive Director, Urban Land Institute; and Paul Bedford celebrate the unique partnership between the Rockport Group, City of Toronto, Artscape and Toronto Parking Authority at the official groundbreaking for their new community development project in the Weston neighbourhood of Toronto. Photo by Mauricio Calero (CNW Group/The Toronto Parking Authority)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160622_C8980_PHOTO_EN_720061.jpg



For further information: Rockport Group, Kathryn Randle, Rockport Group, 416-446-4088, Kathryn@rockportgroup.net; Toronto Parking Authority, Rita Mezzanotte, TPA Communications, (416) 271-0667, ritamezz@me.com; City of Toronto - Affordable Housing Office, Gil Hardy, (416) 397-4701, ghardy@toronto.ca; Artscape, Liz Kohn, Artscape, 416-392-1038 x25, lkohn@artscape.ca


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