Orillia Council authorized negotiations with the preferred proponent for the sale and redevelopment of municipally-owned lands located at 70 Front St. N. at a Special Meeting of Council on May 19, 2021.
The City of Orillia released its Request for Proposals (RFP) for approximately 8.6 acres of land adjacent to Orillia’s waterfront for future redevelopment in December 2020. Council direction follows the technical and financial evaluation of proposals as submitted by the pre-qualified developers FRAM Building Group and TPI Acquisitions (Tribal Partners).
“After much deliberation and discussion, Council, in a unanimous decision, authorized negotiations with the preferred proponent as identified by the final scoring of the City’s evaluation team. Council has directed staff to assemble a negotiating team, with the assistance of third-party expertise, and report back to Council with a framework for negotiations as we work towards a final Agreement of Purchase and Sale,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “After years of public engagement and visioning for the downtown waterfront area, it is exciting to finally be at this stage of the process. We look forward to successful negotiations with the preferred proponent that will lead to revitalization of the property and a better connection between our beautiful waterfront and our heritage downtown.”
In accordance with City of Orillia municipal procurement best practices, the identity of the preferred proponent remains confidential at this time. It is anticipated the successful proponent who will redevelop the site will be announced by late summer 2021.
The City of Orillia purchased the property located at 70 Front St. N. in 2016 and combined it with other municipally-owned lands along the former railway in order to facilitate the extension of Coldwater Street to Centennial Drive and to facilitate redevelopment of the property.
In addition to extensive public consultation over the past 10 years, which informed the 12 Guiding Development Principles and the RFP, further public feedback was gathered between April 9-18, 2021 through an online survey on the presentation boards as submitted by the two proponents. Public feedback helped inform the technical evaluation process as it pertained to the development principles and will further inform negotiations on development documents. The RFP submissions include financial, legal and commercially confidential information and in order to maintain the integrity of the procurement process and negotiations, further details on each of the proposals is not available publicly.
“The waterfront redevelopment project has been years in the making and Council has arrived at a very exciting milestone today,” said Coun. Tim Lauer, Chair of the Waterfront Working Group. “I am pleased that we are moving to the next step in the process. Future revitalization and reclamation of the brownfield site will increase the municipal tax base, introduce new year-round residential units to the downtown waterfront area and provide new employment opportunities. Combined with City improvements to Centennial Drive and the nearby waterfront parks, the downtown waterfront area will be a welcoming place for all Orillians.”
As negotiations with the preferred proponent take place, staff will continue working towards the demolition of the southern portion of the plaza this fall and finalizing the expropriation process pertaining to the site. The City was successful in the final decision from the Court of Appeal regarding the final lease term of Metro, which was confirmed to be 2029. The first phase of the Centennial Drive Reconstruction project (Elgin Street from Front Street South to Cedar Island Road) is underway, and the Cedar Island Road Pump Station construction will take place this year. Phase 2 (reconstruction and realignment of Centennial Drive between Mississaga Street East and Tecumseth Street) is scheduled to begin in 2022 pending budget approval with Phase 3 (extension of Coldwater Street and Colborne Street East) anticipated to take place in 2023.
For more information and to sign up for updates, visit the project webpage at orillia.ca/waterfront.