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Consortium Buys Nearly 400 Acres in Pickering

Developers Paying Province $156.7 Million in First Sale of Provincial Land Near Previously Planned Airport
April 5, 2018
Credit: Infrastructure Ontario Crown.

A consortium of developers has purchased the first major parcel of real estate in the area known as the Seaton lands, a massive area northeast of Toronto first expropriated in the 1970s in connection with a planned airport in Pickering.

CoStar News can report the group known as Seaton TFPM Inc. is acquiring a 397-acre area known as section three for $156.67 million. One-third of the area has been allocated for employment uses and two-thirds for residential. The group of developers consists of Mattamy Homes, Tacc Construction Ltd., Paradise Developments and Fieldgate Homes.

The Land Services Group of CBRE received the mandate from the province in January 2016 for Seaton Lands, which was marketed as 100 percent freehold interest in 1,013 acres, about 311 acres for residential/mixed use land, 643 acres of employment land and 59 acres intended for community use.

"It's a big community; it could be 1,000 homes," said a source about the first phase sold last week, adding the deal has been in the works for more than a year. Servicing on the site is expected to begin in 2019 but it could be 2030 before the entire development is finished.

The CBRE brochure noted all of the sites in the offering are located in the Seaton community, which was conceptualized in the 1970s when the provincial government at the time envisioned 150,000 to 200,000 people living in the area to service a new airport in Toronto's northeast end. When the airport did not get built, the province reconsidered its plan.

"The sites are located throughout Seaton community with excellent access to Highway 407," CBRE boasted in the offering, referring to the toll highway that runs 107 kilometres across the region and is expanding eastward to the benefit of Seaton.

Infrastructure Ontario notes on its website that the entire Seaton community is made up of about 3,100 acres of land in Pickering, much of it environmentally protected lands.

"Upon the lands being developed, Seaton will be a mixed-use, sustainable community which will be a workplace for 30,500 and home to 61,000 people by 2031," the Crown agency says on its website.

In its listing, CBRE notes the federal government still has plans for an airport in Pickering although a smaller portion of the original 18,600 acres of federal land in north Pickering has been set aside for it, with 5,000 acres transferred towards the creation of the Rouge National Urban Park.

The only other piece of Seaton Lands that has closed is an area called section six, a 28-acre piece of employment land that was purchased by the City of Pickering last week for about $3 million and closed the day before the consortium's deal.

"This is the first phase of those lands that got approved for development," said one source, close to the deal which closed last week. "For the 905 region, especially Durham, this a major deal."

While housing prices have pulled backed in the Greater Toronto Area with the Toronto Real Estate Board reporting this week the average price of a home sold in the region in March 2018 had dropped 14.3 percent from a year ago to $784,558, a source with the knowledge of the transaction said the consortium is thinking long-term and looking at the severe land constraints on development in the GTA.

The transaction is one of the most significant land deals to date in 2018, topped by the $275 million a consortium paid the province for the 177-acre parcel known as Lakeview Lands, which was once home to a power generating station.

Tacc Construction Ltd., owned by the DeGasperis family, was also part of the consortium that purchased the Lakeview site from Ontario Power Generation, another Ontario Crown Corp.

For more information on this sale, please see CoStar Sales Comp #4201840.

Garry Marr, Toronto Market Reporter  CoStar Group   

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