City to pursue Baker District redevelopment proposals

Guelph, Ont., July 18, 2017 – Last night Council directed staff to complete the request for proposal (RFP) process for the redevelopment of the Baker District—the priority project for the Downtown Secondary Plan — including a requirement for space allocation for a main library.

“With Council’s support to secure proposals for the Baker District redevelopment, we can forge ahead with fully realizing the economic and social potential of this desirable downtown property within the next five to seven years,” said Derrick Thomson, Guelph’s Chief Administrative Officer.

The competitive RFP process will allow staff to  align development work plans and the funding strategy for this site.The resulting proposals will confirm the commercial development interest in today’s market, which has changed since 2014 when the initial concept was presented to Council. Staff expect the results of the RFP will be presented to Council no later than the end of March 2018, at which time it is anticipated a development partner and site concept will be realized.

Interest in the property was explored earlier this year through the City’s market engagement request for information. The seven developers and investors who participated ranked the Baker Street property highest overall among five downtown Guelph real estate opportunities.

This past February, City staff and Council developed 12 criteria to prioritize the full range of economic development projects in Guelph’s downtown that also favourably ranked the Baker District as a high priority. Staff will prioritize all the remaining projects and report back to Council in March.

Council previously approved a budget of $13.3 million to purchase the property for the Baker District and of that, $4.2 million has been spent to date on acquiring two of the four properties. An additional $90,000 has been allocated for site servicing studies and provincially legislated environmental assessments. Future costs, informed through the planning of the redevelopment RFP, will be reflected in the City’s 2019 capital budget forecast.

Resources

City staff report: Downtown Guelph Secondary Plan Implementation Priority Programs of Work (page 11)
February 16, 2017 Downtown Guelph Implementation Strategy: Work Planning Council Workshop
Baker District 2014 Concept
Envision Guelph Downtown Secondary Plan

Media contact

Peter Cartwright, General Manager
Business Development and Enterprise
519-822-1260 extension 2820
peter.cartwright@guelph.ca