TTC defends choice to look into new headquarters
TTC officials say their current head office is in need of expensive repairs and that obtaining new headquarters will help them make "significant efficiencies."
The TTC released a statement about their plans to search for a new home early Wednesday afternoon after mayoral candidate George Smitherman hinted a "secret" plan was in the works to obtain new corporate headquarters at 4050 Yonge Street, just north of York Mills Road.
This is a clear case of "mistaken priorities," Smitherman said at a news conference Wednesday. "It stinks of a lack of transparency."
The TTC statement says that reports dealing with real estate matters are always confidential until an agreement is in place.
"The TTC will not enter into any lease arrangement if the cost-savings of doing so are not beneficial to Toronto taxpayers," it says. "Prudence dictates that the TTC explore all options to ensure cost-effectiveness and efficiencies before agreeing to relocate and lease office space in any facility, as is common in both the private and public sectors."
The TTC's current headquarters at 1900 Yonge Street will need $30 million over the next five years in capital investment in order to maintain the building, the statement says.
A sprinkler system needs to be installed and upgrades need to be made to make the building energy efficient. Masonry repairs to the exterior of the building will also be needed to make the building safe.
TTC officials also say that a new building will allow them to pool all of their employees under one roof. Only about 300 of 1,000 employees work in the current office.
"Other staff are scattered across the city in leased office space at an annual cost of $8.6 million," the statement says. "A new facility for the TTC could allow significant efficiencies to be realized by centralizing employees and eliminate added leasing costs in other buildings."
The report will be discussed Thursday at a regularly-scheduled TTC meeting.
Smitherman called the report "insulting."
"I hope councillors will vote against this secret plan," he said.