New Raptors training centre approved by Toronto council

Council approves a long-term lease that clears the way for a new training facility for the Toronto Raptors on city-owned land at Exhibition Place.

Mayor Rob Ford, Coun. Doug Ford cast lone votes against

Toronto city council has approved a long-term lease to allow the Toronto Raptors to build a new training facility on city-owned land at Exhibition Place. (City of Toronto)

The Toronto Raptors will get a new training and practice space after council voted Monday to grant Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment a long-term lease for a new training facility to be built on city-owned land at Exhibition Place.

The proposal was approved by council 38-2, with Mayor Rob Ford and Coun. Doug Ford casting the only opposing votes.

The plan calls for MLSE to build the 68,000 square foot facility on a lot just west of Medieval Times at the west end of the CNE grounds. MLSE will pay to build the $30-million facility and lease the property from the city for 20-years at a rate of $205,000 a year.

The state-of-the-art facility will serve as the Raptors training centre and include two full-size basketball courts, a weight room, therapy and areas for coaching, management and support staff with locker rooms, video replay viewing space, a full service kitchen and lunch room. Construction of the project is slated to be built by February 2016.

As part of the agreement with the city, a portion of the court time will be made available to community groups when the Raptors aren't using the courts. Mayor Ford had put forward a motion calling for 10 per cent of the court time to be reserved for residents of Toronto Community Housing. That motion was referred to the city manager.