TAS to revitalize Toronto’s ‘Wellington Destructor’ site and create a community hub

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Toronto council is expected to award a long-term lease on the Wellington Destructor site to TAS, a real estate development company

A report to the General Government and Licensing Committee (GGLC) details terms of a 49-year lease and two options for 25-year extensions.

The report also seeks approval on TAS’ project proposal to restore the heritage landmark and retrofit the building for new community and commercial uses that would provide social and economic benefits to the public.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to revitalize the city-owned Wellington Destructor heritage building and lands, transforming it into dynamic hub that will serve the rapidly growing community,” said Councillor Joe Cressy.

“By investing in this public asset – which has sat vacant for 35 years – we can create a vibrant downtown destination that will be home to a range of arts, culture, innovation and educational programing. This is how we can breathe new life into the treasured buildings of our city’s past.”

As part of the lease agreement, the city would contribute up to $32 million to remediate the property, and to retain and restore its heritage structure. This $32 million initial capital contribution will be repaid to the city over the term of the lease.

The report will be considered at its meeting tomorrow (Oct. 20) and, if adopted, will be considered by council on Nov. 8 or 9.

TAS’s plan for the 0.85-hectare property is to evolve the historic Wellington Destructor into a highly-public community asset that expands existing local park networks while reflecting local stakeholder priorities.

Work will leverage the unique physical characteristics of the Wellington Destructor and its surrounding site to create an iconic landmark.

The report says the proposal “blurs the lines between urban park, community hub and commercial centre”.

Construction would include a dynamic mix of commercial tenancies, such as production facilities, learning, programming and administrative spaces, alongside community-based organizations. TAS will work with a diverse range of partners to ensure ongoing community benefit and engagement.

“This is a great step forward in the Wellington Destructor project. By preserving its heritage elements and creating new flexible spaces, this site will serve many uses and become a destination for people to create, learn and innovate,” said Mayor John Tory.

Constructed in 1925, the Wellington Destructor heritage building is a purpose-built brick garbage incinerator that was in active use until the incineration of solid waste was halted in the mid-1970s. It became a waste transfer station until the 1980s. The transfer station has been decommissioned and left vacant for decades. The property was listed on the City of Toronto Heritage Register in 2005 by City Council and is subject to policies for its conservation.

TAS received the highest scores on an RFP for the redevelopment project.

TAS is a privately-owned, Toronto-based mixed use real estate development company focused on the development and operation of residential and mixed-use buildings.

“The Wellington Destructor site has a storied history and its significance to Toronto is known to the surrounding neighbourhood. The proposed plan to transform the space into a cultural space and a community hub while still maintaining its heritage elements, will bring this early 20th century industrial structure back to Toronto and its residents,” concluded local councillor Paul Ainslie.


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