After months of speculation, the “well-known” and “well-respected” developer who won the bid to purchase the long-vacant Alderwood Collegiate Institute site was revealed this week to be Urbancorp – one of the largest builders of luxury condominium suites, townhomes and lofts in Toronto.
Toronto Lands Corporation’s (TLC) manager of real estate, Donna Jondreau confirmed the sale of the southern-most 8.5 acres portion of Alderwood C.I.’s 14.1 acre site to Urbancorp on Thursday, a day after the sale was finalized.
“We sold Alderwood C.I. yesterday to Urbancorp,” she said in an interview Thursday morning, declining to disclose the purchase price of the 1960s-era school building. “We are very happy. We think they’ll be an excellent new owner of this property.”
TLC – the arms-length body of the Toronto District School Board that manages and sells its surplus properties – was charged with the sale of the Alderwood C.I. site shortly after the board declared it surplus to its needs back in June 2011.
Since then, speculation has run rampant about who might buy the school, which has been vacant since 2006, and what sort of development plan might be envisioned for its parcel of land.
During several community meetings over the last year, local residents expressed their desire to see the site remain a school. But that dream was dashed back in January, when Toronto’s French Catholic school board – the only public entity to bid on the site – rescinded its conditional offer to purchase the school, citing the estimated price tag of $7 million to bring the dilapidated building back up to code.
After the French Catholic board deal went sour, the Alderwood C.I. site was listed on the open market. Urbancorp – which remained an anonymous bidder until this week – submitted its conditional offer in May.
At that time, Etobicoke-Lakeshore Trustee Pamela Gough spoke to her optimism that the TLC had found the best fit for the community – and that the bidding developer had expressed tentative plans to build single-family homes on the Alderwood C.I. site.
“From the sounds of it, it’s a developer that’s worked very well in the community, is very community-minded and very cognizant of the intentions and the interests of the community,” she told The Guardian back in May.
According to its website, Urbancorp has “a flair for finding outstanding new home locations and creating classic designs that beautifully complement their settings.” No one from Urbancorp could be reached for comment as of Guardian deadline.
Now that the sale has been finalized, Urbancorp will need to submit an application for “Plan of Subdivision” approval from the city planning department before any work on the new development can take place.
The Alderwood site is situated within an Residential 3 (R3) zone under the zoning bylaw, which means it’s currently only approved for certain types of residential buildings, including detached homes, semi-detached homes, duplexes and triplexes.
At April’s meeting of Etobicoke York Community Council, Etobicoke-Lakeshore Councillor Mark Grimes fortified council’s resolve that the zoning of the site remain as such by putting forth – and receiving approval for – a motion requesting that any prospective developers of the Alderwood site be advised of community council’s desire to see “single detached dwellings with development standards in accordance with the existing R3 zoning development standards.”