Centennial College ends bid to redevelop Guild Inn

TORONTO, Nov. 23, 2011 /CNW/ - The City of Toronto has terminated a bid by Centennial College to redevelop the former Guild Inn hotel site in Scarborough after three years of research, consultation and negotiation.

Centennial's proposal was never publicly presented for community feedback. Efforts by Guildwood residents to explore the proposal were discouraged by local councillor Paul Ainslie because he was opposed to the college's final development concept, which included a low-rise condominium building.

Centennial had been the exclusive proponent for redevelopment of the site since the spring of 2008, when Toronto City Council directed its staff to negotiate a long-term lease with the college. In response to the City's desire to re-establish a hotel on the 6.3-acre site, Centennial had proposed building a 120-room hotel on the former footprint. Plans also included restoring the historic Bickford residence and adding restaurant/banquet facilities to serve the surrounding 80-acre park and community.

However, the global economic downturn made hotel financing virtually impossible. Studies by industry experts determined that the site was too far removed from major transportation hubs, arterial roads and the downtown business core. New details about the advanced deterioration of the Bickford residence made restoration more challenging and expensive.

Without sufficient public or private funding, Centennial informed the City early in 2011 that it could not proceed as originally proposed. Rather than abandon the site and consign the Bickford residence to demolition, the college consulted with land developers to find another funding model. Developers suggested advance sales of a senior-friendly condominium building could fund restoration of the Bickford residence and new construction needed for Centennial's Culture and Heritage Institute.

Centennial offered its revised proposal as the only viable solution to the problem of salvaging a City heritage asset in a climate of municipal government austerity. Condominium financing had proven successful elsewhere as a means of jumpstarting public projects, including North Toronto Collegiate with condo builder Menkes, as well as Regent Park and TIFF Bell Lightbox (with The Daniels Corp.).

The City of Toronto rejected the proposal and Centennial College has chosen not to pursue the Guild Inn project any longer.

SOURCE Centennial College

For further information:

Media contact: Mark Toljagic, Communications Officer, Centennial College, 416-289-5000, ext. 7142 or 416-605-6012/mtoljagic@centennialcollege.ca


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