Sept-10-2012 The Star – Toronto seeks operator for Casa Loma

TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTOCasa Loma had been run for decades by the Kiwanis Club until the city, concerned about its deteriorating condition, took it over last year. Now the city plans to seek another outside operator to lease it.
Paul Moloney
Urban Affairs Reporter

City-owned Casa Loma could enrich city coffers by as much as $60 million if the site were sold for condominiums, but that outcome is highly unlikely, says Toronto’s general manager of economic development.

The property comprises 3.2 hectares of land (7.9 acres) in midtown Toronto.

Before a sale could happen, city council would have to overrule the site’s heritage designation, change the zoning and overlook the history of the famous castle, designed in 1915 and built by Sir Henry Pellatt.

“Our recommendation is that it is highly unlikely that all three things would happen, so therefore it’s impractical to look at selling Casa Loma,” Williams said Monday.

Instead, staff recommended the city issue a request for proposals (RFP) to find an outside partner to lease the tourist attraction from the city.

Council’s executive committee endorsed seeking an operator for the castle, which had been run for 75 years by the Kiwanis Club until the city took control in mid-2011.

Since then, the property has been overseen by a board made up of Williams and other city bureaucrats.

Casa Loma requires $20 million in repairs and brings in about $1 million a year in net revenue.

A new operator would be expected to respect the building’s cultural and heritage significance and invest in repairs.

Williams was instructed to report back to council on an appropriate repair and maintenance plan.

With files from David Rider

Original Article

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