Developer Jennifer Keesmaat

Former chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat set to secure deal to develop city property

According to a new city report, the company behind a potential collaboration that would see a city property transferred to a private developer is headed up by Jennifer Keesmaat, the former chief planner for Toronto.

The Toronto planning and housing committee is set to review the strategic development proposal for 267 and 275 Merton St. on June 13. Toronto city council will consider the proposal on June 26, pending the committee’s recommendations.

The proposal involves negotiating and executing an agreement of purchase and sale with Markee Missing Middle (Merton) GP Inc. and Markee Missing Middle (Merton) Limited Partnership. This includes a lease agreement for the properties at 267 and 275 Merton St.

Keesmaat is the president and CEO of Collecdev-Markee

The city-owned property at 275 Merton St. is home to the offices of Toronto, which would need to be relocated to another city office as a result of the deal.

The development aims to construct affordable rental housing units on these sites, with a minimum target of 30 per cent of the units designated as affordable. City council is being asked to authorize several measures to support the project, including waivers for planning application fees, building permits, parkland dedication, and development charges exemptions. Additionally, the proposal includes a 99-year tax exemption for municipal and school purposes for the affordable rental units.

Merton St. site
267-275 Merton St. (Google)

Josh Matlow, the city councillor in whose ward the development is located, supports the plan.

“In the midst of a housing crisis, it’s refreshing to see a proposal that includes such a large number of affordable units. That’s what we need more of,” he said, for a prior Streets of Toronto article. “We look forward to working with the applicant on a plan that leaves our community better, and more affordable, that they found it.”

The project is part of the city’s broader HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan, which targets the approval of 65,000 new rent-controlled homes by 2030. The initiative seeks to leverage underutilized city-owned properties to address Toronto’s housing crisis.

The report also requests authorization for the city to negotiate a municipal housing facility agreement with the tenant to secure the financial assistance provided and outline the operation terms for the new affordable rental housing. Furthermore, city staff may execute necessary security or financing documents to facilitate the construction and financing of the project.

The financial details of the proposed transaction are confidential, currently.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO