$3-Billion Casino plan unveiled for downtown Toronto
A proposed $3 billion overhaul of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre that includes a hotel, sprawling urban park, two new office towers and a casino will generate $50 million in annual property tax revenue, plus millions more in profit-sharing, said an Oxford Properties Group official.
But a company executive warned that without a casino, the deal is dead.
“(The casino) allows us to privately fund the new convention centre and all of the new public amenities that this project includes. If the casino disappears, it’s back to the drawing board for us,” Michael Kitt, the company’s executive vice president in Canada, said Friday, hours after Oxford released its proposal.
Officials at MGM and Caesars, both of which have expressed interest in building an “integrated resort” in downtown Toronto, gave the plan high marks, but observers outside of the gambling world were less enthusiastic.
As the tempting details of the plan circulated at city hall — a 2.2-hectare park over the railway tracks lined with cafes and shops, three floors of Eaton Centre-like retail, a modern convention centre and ballroom, office towers likely to include residential units — councillors grappled with that one important question: is it worth it?
Even right-wing councillors have been torn over whether it’s wise to bring a casino to Toronto to raise revenue. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. has selected the GTA as one of five sites to be awarded a new gaming facility. Downtown Toronto is the preferred site, but OLG chair Paul Godfrey says the corporation won’t force a casino on a community that doesn’t want it.