Ground breaks on Toronto Fest Center


TORONTO -- Construction began Thursday on Festival Center, the Toronto International Film Festival's year-round headquarters built in partnership with producer Ivan Reitman.

Workers began erecting fencing and protective wooden coverings around a parking lot in downtown Toronto, where land was offered by Ivan Reitman for the festival's year-round home and an adjoining 37-story condominium complex.

An official groundbreaking is set for April on an eventual five-story headquarters for the festival comprising five cinemas, a gallery and a film reference library.

The consortium behind the CAN$196 million ($175 million) construction project includes Ivan Reitman, his sisters Susan Michaels and Agi Mandel, and property developer the Daniels Corp.

The Toronto festival began the Festival Center project in 2003 and is hopes to complete its headquarters by late-2009.

Currently, the festival is housed in a number of cinemas, hotels and restaurants spread across the city, with no central meeting-place for industry and media.