Liberals release business case for investment in mostly empty MaRs building

The Ontario government made public documents around the $309-million of spending on the MaRS office tower in downtown Toronto.

Appraisal assumes an 80 per cent occupancy

Ontario taxpayers are on the hook for $450,000 in monthly interest payments for the MaRS office tower, which is now more than two thirds empty. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)

The Ontario government has made public documents relating to the $309 million of spending on the MaRS office tower in downtown Toronto.

The documents are meant to present a business case for the spending.

CBC News has requested the documents repeatedly since the government announced it was spending $65 million to buy out a U.S. developer's interest in the MaRS Phase 2 office tower.

Ontario's Liberal government originally loaned $224-million to MaRS to build the tower, which is now mostly empty.

The documents, released by Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid's office, number in the hundreds of pages and include the legal paperwork for the loan, the contract with the U.S. developer and a detailed real-estate appraisal.

One appraisal bases its figures on an 80 per cent tenancy rate upon construction. But the MaRS tower isn't even halfway there, several months after construction finished. That calls into question the government's insistence that the building is worth more than the tax money they've pumped into it. 

But Duguid's office points out two other appraisals value the building at between $303- and $330-million at 30 per cent occupancy.

Those appraisals, which are from this year, put the building's worth equal to or more than the money that has been invested in this project.