news: : : feb 2003

And then Oxford Properties Group acquired the large Royal Bank Plaza in Downtown Toronto in 1999. Each building that Oxford invests in is another building that they must keep full and up-to-date before they can consider vanity towers the likes of "100 Adelaide West" --their replacement for the Concourse. The bigger Oxford gets, the more distractions it feels, the better things are for Toronto. It really underlines how useless their Concourse proposal always was for everyone; how it would only serve to steal tenants from other towers anyway -- towers that Oxford now happens to own.
             In October 2001 Oxford Properties Group was bought wholly by OMERS, the Ontario Municipal Employees' Retirement System. As a cautious institutional owner/investor they will give any construction more than due fiscal diligence.
             The legacy left behind is one of a bitter charade played out at city hall; of tantrums thrown by pro-development Councilors at the fight put up by the preservationists and of excuses made by Councilors signing onto the deal because they squeezed some daycare out of the more than willing developer. In other words a mean-spirited legacy, one that broke the newly amalgamated preservation board, one that polarized the heritage services department and paralyzed citizen representation in the department for the three years at least that I have first-hand knowledge of. It's a mean, crummy legacy. It has no point and it never did. The citizens quit. The company was sold. The mayor retires. But the Concourse has a death sentence for as long as it stands. Yet stand it does.

s.j. russell
(news section: feb 2003)

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