Friday, May 30, 2014

Liberals knew MaRS bailout would raise questions

this doesn't seem to be news as much as a timely inevitability

Scott Stinson has written an article a long-time reader of this blog may have been awaiting for a couple of years: Parker Gallant wrote on Infrastructure Ontario and MaRS over 2-years ago (right after the province had written off $200 million).

Scott Stinson: Documents show Liberals knew all along that $317M MaRS bailout would raise questions
Should questions arise about the revelation that the taxpayers of Ontario were buying a beautiful new, 20-storey building at College and University that was intended to a be cornerstone of the province’s “innovation agenda,” the documents say respondents should stick to the following key messages:
“The government is committed to ensuring that its real estate portfolio is managed in a responsible manner that realizes value for taxpayer dollars.”
And: “The buyout presents an opportunity for Ontario to address a range of priorities with respect to the building’s future ownership and use.”
Image from TVO's The Inside Agenda Blog
...the projected use of government space in the building: 51%. The purpose of piling a bunch of civil servants into the now-empty floors of the tower is not because it’s an optimal use of space, but because without those government workers in there the purchase of the building would be against the law.
Not that it seems there’s much of a risk of innovation-oriented tenants suddenly clamouring to get in the MaRS doors. Though MaRS isn’t talking, sources in the startup field have suggested that it — or specifically its U.S. leasing partner — was charging rents well above market value, with one person telling me that a venture capital firm considered MaRS-based companies to be risky investments because just being there demonstrated poor fiscal management.
 Read Scott Stinson's full column in the National Post

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