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City of Burlington buys office building at 390 Brant St

My Take: This is a strategic investment to help protect economic vibrancy downtown

City council has approved the purchase of 390 Brant St., known as Sims Square, for $17.5 million. The building will maintain the existing tenants and ensure the space continues to be available for future employment generation in the downtown. As such the property will be operated as a self-sustaining commercial property whereby all income generated by the facility will be used to repay the debt used to finance the purchase, as well as cover the maintenance and operation of the building. The property was purchased with a combination of debt financing and reserve funds.

The city has been leasing space at 390 Brant St. for employee use since 2005. The city uses 21,736 square feet of the building, which is one third of the building’s leasable floor space, to house four city departments and project teams.

City operations at 390 Brant St. include the Finance, Legal and Human Resources departments as well as some services from Capital Works and Parks and Recreation, including Festivals and Events.

The six-storey building has 61,000 square feet, a surface parking lot and underground parking.

Quick Facts

The City of Burlington has purchased 390 Brant St., known as Sims Square, for $17.5 million with possession taking place on Feb. 5, 2018.

390 Brant St. is known as Sims Square. The location was once a city park.

The city is committed to creating and maintaining a vibrant and active downtown with a healthy economy that includes office space.

The city originally sold Sims Square in the 1980s to help create office space in the downtown.

The city will manage and operate Sims Square as a distinct business unit separate from City Hall operations.

My Take:

I supported city purchase of this building to help preserve office space downtown, and provide more control over potential redevelopment of this site (which includes the surface parking next door, at one time slated for an additional building). With city ownership, we’ll be able to prevent the site redeveloping with a residential tower that could reduce jobs downtown. The city will collect rent revenue from tenants, which pays the financing to purchase the building, so there is no impact on taxes for residents. I see it as a strategic investment to help protect economic vibrancy downtown.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

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