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The Globe and Mail

Ontario government getting out of the landlord business

'Private sector can manage office space better and at a lower cost,' government says, joining corporations that don't want to own real estate if it's not their core business

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The removal of hoardings a few weeks ago revealed Infrastructure Ontario’s $100-million facelift of Toronto’s unique upside-down pyramid building at 222 Jarvis St.

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Formerly the headquarters for Sears Canada, the nine-storey building was constructed 40 years ago in the Brutalist style. The provincial government purchased it in 2007.

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A new multi-storey glass curtain on the facade flattens the building’s profile from the street and lets light shine into an expanded atrium lobby.

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After spending $100-million on the renovation that brings the office building up to LEED Silver standard, the provincial government has announced its intention to sell the property, and lease it back.

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The sale-leaseback trend has seen public and private property owners across Canada unlocking the capital trapped in real estate holdings. Immediate cash and long-term savings are the rationale behind the Ontario government’s plan to deacquisition this building and seven others in St. Catharines, Guelph, Oshawa, Sudbury, North Bay, Thunder Bay and Peterborough.

Wallace Immen/The Globe and Mail

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