At a vacant lot in an existing corporate campus in Etobicoke, the plans for a modern, 12 storey office building, appear to have been scrapped.

The site of the intended build by Starlight Investments is now listed for sale, with little word on why the proposed development did not progress.

In 2018, the proposal put forth by Starlight, alongside Sweeny&Co Architects Inc., was for a 200,000-sq.-ft, mid-rise office building at 181 The West Mall. The proposed glass structure was intended to sit atop four distinct columns with a raised lobby set to be surrounded by intricate landscaping. The blueprints also allotted space for retail, which would have likely housed a convenience store or cafe.

The new office building would have brought added business to shops in the area, like the nearby Sherway Gardens Mall. Additionally, there was a plan to construct an internal road between the new workspace and the three existing buildings in the West Metro Corporate Centre, improving the surrounding infrastructure.

JLL Real Estate Services

The now-listed property abuts Highway 427 on its east side and faces Paxman Road on the south. While mostly empty, part of the property is already home to a large parkade that could ease parking requirements for commercial builds and offer abundant options for commuters.

The original proposal for the office building had designated the structure as 'Class A,’ meaning it was meant to be a chic and prestigious working space for premier office users. Typically, Class A rental prices are above average compared to other real estate in a given neighbourhood.

Vacancy rates in office buildings have been high since the pandemic-induced shift to hybrid and remote working. A lack of rent money coming in, coupled with current high interest rates on mortgages, can make it difficult for borrowers to keep up with loans, making office buildings less attractive as an income-producing asset.

In fact, office vacancy rates in Toronto hit a record high in the final quarter of last year, according to a recent CBRE report, largely attributable to increased supply of office real estate and soft demand.

When asked why the project was scrapped, both Sweeny&Co Architects and Starlight Investments, which owns and operates around $2B worth of commercial real estate assets on behalf of True North Commercial REIT, declined to comment.

Regardless, the promised, high-end working destination is seemingly no more and the available 3.18 acres of land have been on the market now for 35 days. The property is in an ideal location, midway between downtown and Toronto Pearson Airport. Any high-rise that goes up on the lot would likely have great views of the city and Lake Ontario, according to the original architects.