From fast food trays to elevator doors to electronic video screens, the last vestiges of Toronto Life's presence are being scrubbed from the former Toronto Life Square as the development readies itself for sale this fall.
The centrepiece of the decade-long Yonge-Dundas redevelopment, home to a 24-screen AMC cinema and the Adidas flagship store, will now officially be known as 10 Dundas East.
The building was placed in court-ordered receivership this spring after its owners, a subsidiary of PenEquity, could no longer finance their $280-million in debt. At the same time Toronto Life magazine's parent company, St. Joseph Communications, was locked in a court battle to have the magazine's name removed from the project. That process now looks complete.
"St. Joseph Communications was successful in winning the arbitration with PenEquity, so our name is no longer associated with that space," St. Joseph's spokeswoman Marta Sinyard said in an e-mail yesterday.
Toronto Life logos on billboards, doors and elevators have disappeared, replaced in some cases by large black rectangles that resemble the redaction boxes that hide sensitive information on government documents.
Building staff who used to wear Toronto Life logo shirts are now wearing plain grey shirts, according to a clerk who works in the complex, and video screens now flash a purple 10 Dundas logo. Only the website, www.torontolifesquare.com - and signs in the TTC's Dundas subway station - continue to boast the stylish red Toronto Life logo.
All this takes places as the sale process is heating up. Court documents filed last month show the property's receivers have sent out more than 2,000 teasers in an attempt to attract major real estate players from around the globe.
According to the court-ordered timeline, a short list of bidders should have been prepared last week, with bids to be submitted on Oct. 2.
A judge allowed the receivers, Ernst and Young, to extend the sale process by three weeks so that a deal must now be closed by Nov. 16, with the possibility of further extension should the creditors agree.
The $280-million is owed first to a syndicate of banks led by the Royal Bank, due $123-million, and second to a subsidiary of Missouri-based Entertainment Properties Trust, due $131-million. Two pension funds are owed an additional $8-million each, and the City of Toronto is last in line for $9.3-million.
The building's change in identity is likely only temporary, as any new owner will want to place their stamp on the property.
It's just as well, according to one store employee unhappy with the new branding.
"10 Dundas makes no sense to me. They should have given the building a name," she said. "It's an unknown building with just an address, that's not going to attract people."
Despite its owner's financial difficulty, the development has been relatively successful, with tenancy close to 90 per cent.