Spin and reality re the purchase and sale of 3100 Weston Rd

TORONTO – The Toronto Preservation Board (TPB) updated its list of properties that have a Heritage, Cultural, Environmental and Historical significance for the city. 3100 Weston Rd. has been on that list for the better part of three decades. 

Primarily because the property changed hands, the TPB needed to provide the Planning and Housing Department, and by extension City Council, with a current description of the property so that Council might be fully informed regarding what may be permissible in terms of development proposals.

The Chair of the TPB attempted to make clear that the discussion of the Report at hand, at Tuesday’s meeting, was about updating the listing of properties which meet the criteria above, not whether a property should be designated as Heritage, for whatever qualitative reasons.

Rivermede, as 3100 Weston was originally called, has had three previous owners. The last of these, the Basilian Fathers (Catholic, Eastern Rite), had built a complex on the site that encompassed a church, school and a garden immediately below the original mansion, most recently a convent. They have their own architectural and cultural values.

The garden, beginning in 2005, developed into a Shrine for community use associated with religious practices dedicated to Mother Mary of Gratitude. Its is located on undevelopable terrain, given its geography as a ‘side of bank’ on floodplain. It may apparently fall under the ownership of the Toronto Conservation Authority.

The Lease Agreement granted to the City of Toronto by the Basilians, and still effective until November 2024, appears to include the garden as part of the leasehold asset the City pays a yearly fee in the $400,000 range for the enjoyment of the Public. In the words of the local Councillor, Anthony Perruzza, the Purchaser may have …“bought a very, very public property”.

The CEO of the registered purchaser, AvranceCcorp Developments (AD), Samuel Babs and a Teghbir Karion, whose relationship to AD is unclear, used their time to disparage the “qualitative claims” attributed to the Shrine, describing devotees as “squatters” and threatening lawsuits against one and all who might prevent them from enjoying what they regard as “theirs”.

From the left: Samuel Babs, CEO of “AvranceCorp Development” (pic from https:// avrancecorp.com/our-team) and Teghbir Kairon (pic from his Facebook page) 

Some of the over fifty-five people who made written submissions are asking whether in fact AD can rightly make that claim. The Real Estate professionals and legal practitioners among begin by noting the absence of evidence that 3100 Weston had ever been placed on the market to solicit buyers.

A red SOLD sign with the name of Royal Lepage, absent the name of a qualified agent, appeared the day the property was transferred. Calls to listing brokerage by members of the RE Board did not produce proof that there was ever a listing. The sign disappeared that very day.

Six years ago, for taxation purposes, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) listed, the value of 3100 Weston Rd. at $21,724 million. Presumably the Basilians paid the property taxes on that valuation. The transfer documents dated August 22, 2023, indicate a sale price of $16.5 Million to a numbered company (#1000331725) whose address is the same as AD – $5.25 Million less.

Why? Property values have only gone up.

Still, AD did not have sufficient funds at hand. It [may have been] compelled to go elsewhere – DandGmanagementInc – for $12.5 million of the $16.5 million.

From here the transaction becomes even fuzzier: at least two other ”players” entered the picture. Incorporation papers for all of them suggest a “date of birth” within a ten-day period in October of 2022.

Our researchers continue to assemble the package.