New St. Lawrence Market building will cost another $14M

The cost of a long-awaited redevelopment of St. Lawrence Market’s North Market Building is going up, taking the project’s total budget to $116.3 million.

City council to make the final decision on whether to allocate new funds

The price tag for the new St. Lawrence Market North Building has gone up by about $14M after the city rescinded a construction contract and re-tendered the project, causing major delays. (City of Toronto)

The cost of a long-awaited redevelopment of St. Lawrence Market's North Market Building is going up by about $14 million, taking the project's total budget up to $116.3 million.

In a report presented Tuesday to the city's general government and licensing committee, staff wrote that the project costs had increased due to changing market conditions and because the city had been forced to cancel a previous construction contract and re-tender the project.

"What has happened is time has elapsed, costs have gone up, and [the] lowest bidder is not necessarily available for this project," said Coun. Stephen Holyday, who sits on that committee, in an interview with CBC Toronto.. 

The former St. Lawrence Market North Building, which a member of the St. Lawrence Market Business Improvement Area described as having 'all the charm of a parking garage.' (Ali Chiasson/CBC)

Holyday said prices also went up thanks to rising costs for supplies like drywall and to new market factors, like steel tariffs from the U.S.

The new North Market Building will be a five-storey steel-and-glass structure that will replace the low-slung brick building that occupied the space for five decades. Beyond being a market space, it will also house a parking garage, traffic courts and public meeting spaces.

The project has already seen delays and cost increases, particularly after historic artifacts dating back to the 1800's were discovered at the site.

Work on the building fell about two years behind schedule with the discovery of historic objects dating back to the early 1800s at the site. (Archeological Services Inc.)

Holyday said the committee ultimately "opted to go ahead" with the request, but "sent some signals  that we want to see care exercised by the committee in the future and have options to scale back the project if there are increases in cost."

He also added an amendment that any future requests for more money include suggestions for cost-saving measures.

As for where the money will come from, city staff suggest re-allocating some funds originally slated for other projects —for example, a plan to replace windows at Old City Hall — to the project.

The final decision will rest with city council, who will consider the issue on May 14. The current projected date for completion is late 2021.


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