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TORONTO-A $120-million project to restore and revitalize Canada’s largest operating train station–Toronto’s Union Station–will begin in 2004, according to an agreement approved last week by the Toronto City Council.

The agreement, which includes operating rights for the next 100 years, was made with a consortium of companies going by the name Union Pearson Group. Member firms include: O&Y Properties, one of Canada’s largest real estate and property management companies; Kilmer van Nostrand, an investment company; PCL, Canada’s leading constructor; SNC-Lavalin, Canada’s largest engineering firm; OMERS, one of Canada’s largest pension funds representing the assets of public employees; and New York-based Jones Lang LaSalle.

A Gateway to Toronto’s waterfront, Union Station has been deemed the single most important piece of real estate in Canada for its downtown Toronto location and function as a critical transportation hub. Canada’s federal government has designated Union Station as a National Historic Site. The consortium’s charge is to bring Union up to the standards of Grand Central Terminal in New York and Union Station in Washington D.C. both of which were projects of Jones Lang LaSalle.

In addition to rehabilitate and restore the interior and exterior heritage elements of the Station, the project entails creating 130,000 sf of retail and restaurant space and converting the west wing into either a 100,000-sf office building or a boutique hotel, depending on market conditions. Construction is expected to commence by late 2004 and will take 5 years to complete.

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