Private developer Vandyk signs letter of intent to build station along with mixed-use development
Metrolinx has signed a non-binding agreement with a private developer for a major revamp of Mimico Station, in a deal that will see the company foot all construction costs in exchange for air rights.
Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster announced Monday at the transit agency’s board meeting it has signed a non-bonding letter of intent with Vandyk Group of Companies to build the station at no direct cost to the public.
“There’s no doubt that the value we’ll be receiving for the air rights exceeds the value of the air rights,” Verster said.
Metrolinx says under the potential deal, Vandyk would pay all construction costs for a new station building, parking facility and cycling and pedestrian path at Mimico. In exchange, the company would be given development rights above the station to create a mixed-use development. Vandyk also owns the land to the north of the existing Mimico GO station.
Verster says the developer approached Metrolinx with a proposal that best presented the development potential above the station, making the sale of air rights possible.
“There’s money to be had from that,” Verster said. “That’s money we can invest in the railway again in the public interest.”
The Metrolinx CEO stressed the transit agency will retain control of the important details of the project, like construction deadlines and station features, through the agreement. The work being performed will also bring the station up to current Metrolinx accessibility standards.
The Mimico deal is not the first time Metrolinx announced it is embracing transit-oriented development. In 2017, Metrolinx, developer Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines and the City of Toronto announced they are working together to build a new GO Bus Terminal and office tower complex behind Union Station.
The terminal is estimated to cost $102 million, which Metrolinx partly funded by selling the land on which the bus station sits now to the project’s developers. Verster said transit-oriented development increases ridership, decreases vehicle use and creates vibrant communities by better utilizing station lands.
Mimico Station was built in 1967, the year GO Transit launched. Since then, it has become a critical part of south Etobicoke’s growth and development, serving about 1,200 riders daily. By 2031, ridership is expected triple.
Verster said Monday’s announcement is all about creating more connected, healthy and sustainable communities –- and the community will still have a say in the new Mimico station through the public consultation process.
A fully-accessible temporary station will be in place by 2023 while Vandyk constructs the new building, according to Metrolinx. A date for the permanent station’s completion has yet to be negotiated.
Other items discussed at the October 22 Board meeting: