Toronto’s Distillery Historic District Enters 2005 with a new partner and a new phase of development

Toronto’s Distillery Historic District has announced the addition of Dundee Realty Corporation as a new fifty percent equity partner in the Distillery District, as well as innovative improvements to the 44-building, 13-acre site, one of Toronto’s finest cultural and tourist attractions.

Dundee Realty Corporation, a Toronto-based company established in 1996, brings renewed corporate credibility, together with an impressive track record in residential development and commercial property management to the Distillery District.

Dundee Realty Corporation will work in tandem with partner and manager Cityscape Holdings Inc., the originators and visionaries behind the Distillery concept. Cityscape is a boutique development company focusing on unique historic projects, as well as residential condominium developments.

"Cityscape is thrilled to be working with Dundee Realty Corporation in ensuring that the Distillery reaches its potential and becomes established as the leading cultural, arts and entertainment centre in the City," said John Berman, partner of Cityscape Holdings Inc.

“We are very excited to be involved in an important part of Toronto’s history that has so much potential for the future,” said Michael Cooper, President and CEO, Dundee Realty Corporation. “We look at this as an investment in the city, in its people and the future.” The 13-acre pedestrian retail area is an extremely important gallery and arts centre in the city and Dundee anticipates that its significance and value will only increase.

A key announcement on behalf of the new Distillery partners is the commencement of the overall restoration of the Stone Distillery Buildings. The well-known grey limestone buildings featured in the movie Chicago will provide an additional 40,000 square feet of leasing space and add new rental opportunities to the rapidly occupied and thriving office, retail, boutique and gallery community that has made the Distillery so distinctive.

A comprehensive site-wide landscaping project, designed to enhance the overall greening of the Distillery will also shift into high gear once weather allows.

One of the other many projects to be addressed by the new co-owners will be a new residential development located on the northwest corner of the Distillery at Mill and Parliament Streets. The new development is being designed by the architectural firm architectsAlliance and is envisioned as a 30-storey tower with an attached 5-storey loft building, encompassing approximately 400 units. "The residential development will help to create an even more unique and vital community," said Cooper. The sales centre is scheduled to open early this spring. Pre-registrations are now being accepted.

architectsAlliance has developed a reputation as one of Canada’s most innovative architectural practices, and one of the few nationally recognized design practices in Canada that is actively involved in residential development. Their work has been recognized by professional peers and the architectural press, and has won numerous national and international design awards.

The Distillery is also pleased to announce an even more extensive schedule of festivals, events, and attractions for the new year. The 2005 schedule includes:

*Lazio Wine Region Showcase: February 28
*MG Car Club of Toronto Car Show: May 17-19
*Distillery Outdoor Art Exhibition: May 25-26
*Dynamic Distillery District Jazz Festival presented by Dynamic Mutual Funds: May 21-29
*Woofstock: June 4
*Kimberley Seldon Designer Flea Market: June 4
*Distillery District Blues Festival: June 11
*Parti Gras Opening weekend of Beaches Jazz Festival: July 15-17
*Toronto Street Festival: July 22-24
*Distillery Antique Show: July 31
*Distillery Dance Festival: August 12-21
*Distillery Outdoor Art Exhibition: August 24-25
*First Night Toronto: Dec 31

Also new for 2005 is the Distillery Skating Rink that’s already welcoming winter visitors to the heart of the city.

The construction of the Soulpepper/George Brown Theatre School is well underway, with a scheduled opening of December 2005.

The Distillery Historic District opened in May 2003. Set on 13 acres in downtown Toronto at 55 Mill Street, the former Gooderham and Worts Distillery dates back to 1832 and represents the largest and best-preserved collection of Victorian industrial architecture in North America, and has been designated a national historic site.