The ceremonial ground-breaking for Athlete’s Village took place on Thursday, Jan. 12. The new community will serve as a temporary residence for more than 10,000 athletes and officials from 41 different countries for the duration of the Pan Am games, a 25-day multi-sport event Toronto is hosting in 2015. All those responsible for the planning and construction of Athlete’s Village were in attendance, including members of Infrastructure Ontario, Waterfront Toronto, the Ontario Realty Corporation, TO2015, and Dundee Kilmer Developments Ltd.
The plan for Athlete’s Village has been in the works for the past 15 years; it is a true master-planned community. Located on Toronto’s West Don Lands, which are comprised mostly of undeveloped, former industrial land, the new community will be a great addition to the city’s eastern front. The 2 million-square-foot village will consist of many temporary facilities such as a media centre, a 3,500-seat dining hall, a polyclinic to service the participants of the games, and a recreation centre with a track, a pool, and a gym. During the games, the athletes will also have exclusive use of the Don River Park.
It is very exciting to have such a major development in progress, but what is even more exciting is the purpose the new neighbourhood will fulfill once the Pan Am games have passed. Athlete’s Village will eventually serve as a mixed-use community, providing a significant amount of new residential, commercial, and retail space. There will be an abundance of affordable housing and a new residence for George Brown College that will accommodate about 500 students. The goal of the community is to create a family-oriented neighbourhood that is pedestrian friendly and provides many options for wholesome and social activities, including a 82,000-square-foot YMCA.
Waterfront Toronto’s president and CEO, John Campbell, called this development a prime example of “really smart city building.” The project has been designed and will be built by Dundee Kilmer, and the estimated cost is expected to reach about $514 million. Funding is being provided by Infrastructure Ontario’s Alternative Financing and Procurement Model. There has been some controversy about the amount of money that the city is spending on the Pan Am games, but this development alone is expected to create about 5,200 jobs, and the expected value of Athlete’s Village after the games are done is estimated to reach about $3.7 billion. In the end, Dundee Kilmer will own about 787 condo units and 253 affordable housing units.
The development of Athlete’s Village will directly correspond with the rest of the waterfront development that has been underway since 2005. Waterfront Toronto has been designing and planning for the redevelopment of the 23-acre area for the past seven years, and by the time that is complete, there will be about 6,000 new residential opportunities and a significant amount of space for retail and commercial purposes.
We at the Toronto Star’s NewInHomes.com are extremely excited to watch and report on all of the new developments that will soon be rising just west of the Don River. The future of Toronto is looking bright and better than ever!