Li Ka-shing in Hunt for Bombardier’s Toronto (Downsview) Site - Bids of More than $700-Million Have Been Offered
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APRIL 17, 2018
Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing and two Canadian investors have made Bombardier's short list of buyers for the manufacturer's aerospace plant and surrounding lands in northwest Toronto, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Bombardier is mulling bids from three frontrunners. Mr. Li's CK Asset Holdings Ltd., a team-up by Toronto-based developers Great Gulf and Dream Unlimited Corp., and Montreal-based PSP Investments, the federal public service's pension plan, are all said to be vying for the property.
But whoever wins the competition to buy the sprawling and largely empty 371-acre site could faces huge hurdles. Bombardier is facing off with its union, Unifor, which opposes the sale. And any new landowner will want to win the city's approval to rezone at least some of the site, which is currently reserved only for uses such as factories or offices.
Nevertheless, the site is accessible by Toronto's subway system and is seen as prime real estate in a city grappling with a shortage of land, housing and office space. It became one of the most sought-after potential development sites and attracted the attention of multiple buyers including an unsolicited bid from a startup manufacturer, Avro Bourdeau Aerospace Corp.
The Bombardier Downsview site, which includes the plant, runway and other land, is currently assessed at a value of just $153.16-million for property-tax purposes. However, sources said bids of more than $700-million have been offered.
Buyers on the short list are bidding in the belief they will develop the land into so-called mixed use − a combination of office, residential and retail spaces − which would command high prices, the sources said. The next round of bids is due before the end of the month, they said.