Toronto council approves Overactive Media esports venue

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Ontario Construction Report staff writer

OverActive Media says lease terms have been approved by Toronto city council, opening the door for the previously announced performance venue.

More than 3,000 jobs will be supported during the planning, design, and construction phases of development and the facility is expected to open in 2025.

The theatre-style entertainment venue at Exhibition Place, developed by global design firm Populous, is expected to book 180-200 events per year from music and entertainment events to city-wide conventions, corporate events and product launches, award shows and esports events. It will also be home to OverActive Media’s professional Call of Duty and Overwatch League franchises.

“Over the past year, we have worked incredibly hard to get phase one of our performance venue project over the finish line and there’s no slowing down now,” OverActive Media president and CEO Chris Overholt said in a December statement. “We’re fortunate to have such great partners in the city who share our vision to build a preeminent venue for today’s generation of fans, one that will truly benefit the city of Toronto and its many sports and entertainment fans for years to come.”

“With project construction scheduled to begin in late 2022 and completed in 2025, we’ve been aggressively working on the business and marketing plan. We expect to have several capital partners in this project – notable venue operators and developers who will no doubt bring all their experience to bear ensuring its success.”

Upon completion, the site is expected to support a range of economic activity and permanent on-site employment opportunities, including 650 direct, indirect, and induced full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs.

One-time capital investments are expected to yield approximately $124 million in government revenues, including more than $26 million accruing directly to the City of Toronto when including direct, indirect, and induced components.

“Further development in the heart of Exhibition Place through OverActive Media’s performance venue project will create new jobs and investment opportunities, and enhance our position as a global entertainment destination,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “With City Council’s approval, I look forward to seeing this project get underway, providing a new hub for Toronto and the surrounding community.”

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