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Omers’ Oxford Plans $3.1 Billion Toronto Casino Complex

Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System’s Oxford Properties said major Las Vegas casino operators have expressed interest in its C$3 billion ($3.1 billion) proposal to develop a casino, hotel and convention complex in downtown Toronto.

Caesars Entertainment Corp., Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International have all worked with Oxford on the proposal, Blake Hutcheson, Oxford’s chief executive officer said by telephone from Toronto where the company is based.

“There are a number of operators who have approached us and think that this site would be a bulls eye for their needs,” he said.

MGM is waiting for Toronto to determine the best location for a casino and Ontario to select the best operator, Alan Feldman, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail. Ron Reese, a spokesman for Las Vegas Sands, didn’t immediately respond to a call requesting comment. Gary Thompson, a Caesars spokesman didn’t immediately respond to phone and e-mail queries.

The project is one of the largest urban redevelopments in North America and would include the renovation of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre near the city’s waterfront, Oxford Properties said in statement today. The plan, which would require no public investment, calls for an expanded convention center, space for offices, stores and residences, as well as the addition of a hotel, casino and 5.5-acre urban park.

‘Excitement Building’

Ontario announced plans to expand the gambling industry earlier this year including a possible new casino in or around Toronto as it searches for new revenue to close a C$13 billion budget gap. The province has asked for the approval of the city, which has yet to vote on the proposal. A number of locations are being considered near Toronto’s lake front and in surrounding cities.

“We’re pleased to see that there’s excitement building within the business community about a proposed integrated gaming-entertainment center,” said Tony Bitonti, spokesman for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., which oversees gambling in the province. No formal call for proposals will be issued until after the location of the casino is decided, he said.

Omers posted a 3.17 percent gross investment return last year, led by private equity, real estate and infrastructure holdings, the fund said in its annual report. It invests in real estate and manages more than C$55 billion of assets for more than 420,000 retired and active municipal employees in Canada’s most populous province.

The development would be called Oxford Place. Foster & Partners, an architectural firm, would be responsible for the master plan, Oxford Properties said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeffrey St.Onge in London at jstonge@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ross Larsen at rlarsen2@bloomberg.net

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