The Exhibition Place may soon add a new theatre-style esports and entertainment complex to the growing area. The plans were recently announced by OverActive Media, a global esports and entertainment organization, that includes a 7,000 seat entertainment venue and hotel complex. The proposed development will be built directly north of Lake Shore Blvd W on an unused surface parking lot just west of the historic Stanley Barracks building. This new venue will have a scenic landscape that will overlook the waterfront. If approved, this development will cost approximately $500 Million to build and will take up over 4.5 acres of land. With the growing popularity of esports worldwide, this proposal could not come at a better time. Esports are a growing industry that are worth billions of dollars worldwide.
OverActive Media are the owners of two Toronto-based and two Madrid-based esports teams. The Toronto teams are the Toronto Ultra who play for the Call of Duty League (CDL) and Toronto Defiant that play for the Overwatch League (OWL). This new venue will be the home base for these two local teams. But it’s not just esports that will be played at this venue - the facility plans to host over 200 events annually including corporate events, award shows, city wide conventions, product launches and a wide range of entertainment acts.
The renderings for this new entertainment complex will feature an iconic architectural design, and state-of-the art communication infrastructure. It will be a modern expression of how sports and entertainment will be viewed in the future. The architecture was designed by Populous, a well-known design firm that is known globally for their event and venue spaces. Populous has built venues that have featured the Olympic Games, the Fifa World Cup and the SuperBowl.
This incredible new development will be privately-funded and the largest purpose-built facility in North America. Chris Overholt, OverActive’s President and CEO, states, “We are building a world leading, 21st century sports media and entertainment company and this best-in-class performance venue will be the chosen home for a new generation of fans that think differently about their entertainment choices and experiences.”
In addition to this 7,000 seat entertainment venue, the proposal also calls for a 30-storey hotel that will be located just north of the venue’s main hall. This hotel will provide 400 rooms and will include a pool, fitness centre, spa and restaurants. Overholt also adds, “Our vision on this project from day one has been to combine a premium concert and live events program with world leading technology and best in class hospitality. We will create an unparalleled experience for our fans while being a low net cost producer to our entertainment partners and artists. A landmark experience and venue for a world class city that defines a new future."
The plans still have yet to receive final approval from the Board of Governors of Exhibition Place and the City of Toronto. The proposal needs to complement the Exhibition Place Master Plan that states that the future of the Exhibition Place will create innovative and enhancing spaces for all visitors to relax, entertain and exhibit. If the plans to build this new development is approved, a planning application will need to be submitted to the City for review before building permits can be issued. Once the building permit is issued, OverActive Media estimates the complex will have 2.5 to 3 years to build. If approved, the entire complex is estimated to be up and running by 2025.