Sunday, July 19, 2009

Adventures in branding: Toronto Life Square
in receivership

It must have seemed a great promotional idea at the time (and, who knows, perhaps it still does.) St. Joseph Media obtained the naming rights to the mall at the northeast corner of Yonge and Dundas in Toronto and dubbed it Toronto Life Square after its flagship magazine. (Observers noted at the time that the neon-draped office-commercial complex wasn't exactly a square and that the branding was a sly way to suggest that the whole busy Yonge-Dundas Square across the way was also brought to you by Toronto Life.)

Now, according to a story in the Globe and Mail, creditors foreclosed on the property in April. The 13-floor, 75,000 square-foot tower sits above four levels of shopping, food courts and the AMC cinemas, which double as Ryerson classrooms in the daytime. It is owned by a subsidiary of PenEquity. Debts apparently total $280 million, including more than $120 million owed to the Royal Bank, more than $230 million to a Missouri-based company, Entertainment Properties Trust, $16 million to two pension funds and about $9.3 million in back taxes to the City of Toronto.

The Globe story pointed out the strangeness of the situation, since the building is 90% leased and the various clients in it seem to be doing quite well. There are 46 tenants, paying about $2 million a month in rent. That's what made the foreclosure such a surprise.

For now, Toronto Life is keeping mum and has been in arbitration with the developers for several months. The open question is whether the Toronto Life name will remain on the building when the dust settles.

1 Comments:

Anonymous lsm insurance said...

The foreclosure of this was so shocking and unexpected. It would be great to hear something more about it. How comes the debt was so huge? Still, the name of the building should remain the same - it's well known as it is now. Regards, Lorne.

10:33 am  

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