Downtown Toronto’s Factory Theatre property for sale

IMAGE: A JLL handout illustrating the Factory Theatre property in Toronto, which is being marketed for sale. (Courtesy JLL)

A JLL handout illustrating the Factory Theatre property in Toronto, which is being marketed for sale. (Courtesy JLL)

Downtown Toronto’s historic Factory Theatre building and its surrounding property are being marketed by JLL Capital Markets as a unique redevelopment play.

“This is a rare opportunity to acquire a significant lot and existing structure on one of the last undeveloped high-profile corners in the Downtown West,” JLL Capital Markets executive vice-president Elliot Medoff told RENX about the 13,205-square-foot land parcel.

It features a combined 231 feet of frontage along Bathurst Street and Adelaide Street West.

“Factory Theatre is currently generating interest from the investment, owner-user and development community,” said Medoff.

Why Factory Theatre is selling the property

Factory Theatre emailed this statement to RENX in response to why it’s looking to sell the property, which it has occupied since 1984:

“We have engaged JLL to provide advice on how we can further develop our theatre in support of Canadian artists. Our objective is to see what opportunities exist to enhance our wonderful heritage building at Bathurst and Adelaide in partnership with private developers, having been unsuccessful in obtaining sufficient public funds to upgrade our 150-year-old building.

“At the present time we are seeking proposals that will enable us to enhance our current theatre and adjacent grounds. We are at the exploratory phase and have made no decision to move forward on any plans.

“Factory Theatre has adapted to the challenges of COVID-19 by temporarily moving production to virtual platforms where we continue to grow our audience.”

Factory Theatre is a privately owned, not-for-profit organization that supports Canadian artists and serves as a venue for workshops, writers’ retreats and live performances.

What the Factory Theatre site offers

The three-storey, 18,000-square-foot mansion house was originally built in 1869 and has heritage status with the municipal and provincial governments. It houses two theatres, a rehearsal hall, a workshop, lounge space and a glazed vestibule and elevator that were added in 2013.

“Factory Theatre’s strong preference would be to retain a smaller component of an enhanced building in a future redevelopment,” said Medoff. “However, the organization is open to moving to a new home in the immediate area, where appropriate.”

The site is surrounded by a mix of residential, retail and brick-and-beam office buildings. It offers easy access to restaurants and entertainment. It’s within 150 metres of two streetcar lines and has walk and transit scores of 100.

The site has commercial residential employment zoning. Downtown West had an average class-A vacancy rate of 0.8 per cent, and class-A office asking rental rates of $41.85 per square foot net at the end of the first quarter of this year, according to JLL.

Condominium pricing in the area has increased by 47 per cent in the past five years, achieving upwards of $1,300 per square foot in new developments.

The vendor is open to a flexible offering process that allows for a sale-leaseback, vacant-sale or Factory Theatre retaining a component of a future redevelopment, which allows flexibility in terms of timing to development, while also adding cultural significance to any redevelopment.

“Vertical additions to the building must be designed to preserve the cultural heritage values, attributes and character of the property, and to mitigate the visual and physical impact on it,” said Medoff.

“A comprehensive study has been undertaken by a team of third-party consultants, which is available for review by prospective purchasers.”

Process for interested parties

Interested parties will be required to submit a confidentiality agreement prior to receiving detailed information about the property.

They’ll also be invited to submit a letter of intent on a specific date that will be communicated by JLL at least 14 days in advance. JLL has established a virtual data room with heritage, environmental and planning opinion memorandums for further review.

“The advisory team will be running a full disposition process through July to ensure broad market coverage and provide Factory Theatre and its appointed representatives with a variety of options for review and consideration,” said Medoff.

“JLL will announce, with sufficient timing, a call for offer submissions to interested parties.”

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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