Canadian Consulting Engineer

Engineers part of Union Station renovations deal

June 20, 2003
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

The city of Toronto is set to proceed with plans by the Union Pearson Group to develop its historic transportation...

The city of Toronto is set to proceed with plans by the Union Pearson Group to develop its historic transportation hub on Front Street in the downtown core. The revitalization of Union Station has been subject to much controversy after it was disclosed that Union Pearson Group had won the bidding process by a margin of only 15.5 points out of a total score of 3,000.
The Union Pearson Group includes giant Canadian engineering and construction firm SNC-Lavalin, with the Toronto office’s Albert Sweetnam (senior vice president) and Tracey Lawko (vice president) heading their team. Other members of Union Pearson Group are O & Y Properties, the Canadian developer that has risen like a phoenix out of the ashes of its financial troubles in the late 1990s. The group also includes PCL Constructors Canada.
Early in June a former judge who had been called in to investigate the deal reported to the city that there was no evidence of malfeasance, even though the margin of victory for the Union Pearson Group was very narrow. The other group competing for the job was led by a U.S. mall developer — Landau & Heyman, known as LP Heritage + Union Station Consortium.
After the judge cleared the procedure, city council told its bureaucrats to carry on negotiating with Union Pearson Group on the deal. As currently proposed, the contract potentially gives the developer the option to lease the building for 100 years. They will invest between $120 million in renovations and pay the city $500,000 a year in rent.
The changes to be made to the heritage train station building with its classic grand architecture dating back to 1929 include proposals to enclose the “moat” between the station and Front Street with glass. The developer will also improve the Front Sreet Plaza and develop new retail and commercial space at the south end of the Go Train Concourse and below the historic Via Rail concourse. Current zoning does not allow for any additional density (towers) to be built over the existing station.
The Toronto consulting engineering firm Marshall Macklin Monaghan were in charge of developing and running development bidding process.


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