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Team picked to build athletes’ village for Toronto’s Pan Am Games

Source: Globe & Mail

With less than four years left before the opening ceremonies, a group of local developers and architects has been picked to build the athletes’ village for Toronto’s Pan American Games on a 14-hectare site beside the Don River.

The winning bid includes Dundee Realty Corp., KPMB Architects and Kilmer Van Nostrand Co. Ltd., the holding company of Toronto businessman Larry Tanenbaum. The winner was selected by the province and Waterfront Toronto, a partnership among three levels of government responsible for redeveloping the former industrial land.

Waterfront Toronto has been in the headlines in recent weeks over its plans for another site farther south at the mouth of the Don River. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, want the city to take back control of developing the Port Lands, unveiling their preferred makeover option, which includes a Ferris wheel and monorail, at city hall this week. The Mayor wants a faster pace for construction, vowing to have something in place within a decade.

The Pan Am village site is just up the river from the Port Lands, where the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway meet. Front Street will be its main thoroughfare and a new riverside park on the west bank of the Don River will be its eastern boundary. It will be home to as many as 8,000 athletes, coaches and officials during the Pan and Parapan American Games. It is set to open June 30, 2015, and operate until mid-August, a tight construction timeline to create what amounts to a new neighbourhood for the city on the long-dormant site.

Plans for the area were fast-tracked after Toronto got the games in late 2009.

“The athletes’ village is really the central component of any multisport games,” said Allen Vansen, senior vice-president of operations for the organizing committee.

In the case of the Toronto games, which will hold competitions at several sites throughout the Greater Toronto Area, the village will be the main meeting place for athletes, he said.

After the athletes pack up their gear and head home, plans are to convert the massive project into a multiuse community that includes 2,100 residential units, some earmarked for affordable housing. “It’s a fantastic legacy project,” Mr. Vansen said.

The details of the contract, including the final price tag, are still being negotiated and will be released late this year or early in 2012, said a spokeswoman for Infrastructure Ontario, the provincial agency leading the project. Construction is expected to begin about the same time, she said.

Other participants in the winning bid include EllisDon Corp., Brookfield Financial Corp., Ledcor Design Build and architectsAlliance.