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Fleissig To Lead Woodbine Development

Published: December 8, 2020 2:25 pm ET

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On Tuesday (Dec. 8), Woodbine Entertainment announced that it has retained the services of Collaborative Equities and its managing principal and prominent developer William Kohn Fleissig to lead its property development portfolio.

In the capacity of chief development officer and providing direct consultation to CEO Jim Lawson, Fleissig will work closely with Woodbine’s executive leadership team to strategically and responsibly redevelop its underutilized lands to expand its revenue streams and ensure the long-term sustainability of the horse racing industry in Ontario.

Fleissig joins Woodbine as one of the most innovative land developers and community builders of the past 20 years. Recent highlights from his extensive portfolio include serving as the managing director of Treasure Island Development Group (TIDG), where he led the infrastructure development of a 400-acre, $6 billion new community in San Francisco, designated as the largest LEED-ND Platinum neighbourhood in North America. Prior to joining TIDG in 2018, Fleissig was president and CEO of Waterfront Toronto, a tri-government-backed organization tasked with revitalizing 2,000 acres of industrial lands adjacent to Toronto’s downtown core.

“As a recognized global leader, Will’s experience and acumen will be instrumental in guiding Woodbine’s robust, ambitious and exciting property development portfolio,” said Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment. “The development of the property surrounding our racetracks remains fundamental to our strategy in sustaining our business and the horse racing industry for decades to come. We are excited to have Will lead our efforts to help bring the most exciting development project in Canada to life.”

Situated in Etobicoke, Ont., Woodbine Entertainment operates Thoroughbred horse racing at Woodbine Racetrack and hosts Casino Woodbine, which sits on 680 acres of property that is also owned by Woodbine Entertainment and is highly desirable and largely undeveloped land just minutes from Toronto Pearson Airport. Woodbine Districts will continue to be the ultimate destination for horse racing and gaming, while integrating new expanded entertainment and cultural offerings, food and dining, hotel, shopping, employment, post-secondary education, recreation, health, wellness and urban residential living. As part of the development plan, a world-class casino resort is currently being built by Ontario Gaming GTA LP in the northeast corner of the property while a Metrolinx Go Station is planned for the southeast corner.

World-leading Standardbred racetrack Woodbine Mohawk Park (also owned by Woodbine Entertainment) features nearly 400 acres of land located in Campbellville, Ont., at Highway 401 and Guelph Line, which presents an opportunity for land development as well.

In both cases, developing the land that surrounds the racetracks will unlock the value of the land to further create a sustainable future for horse racing in Ontario.

“Through careful stewardship of its land assets, Woodbine can secure long-term benefits by developing a complete neighbourhood district — incorporating a mix of homes, commercial uses, community venues and public parks,” said Fleissig. “I look forward to leading the team to ensure we deliver vibrant, sustainable places for the community to enjoy while supporting the Ontario horse racing industry.”

Additional examples of memorable places developed by teams led by Fleissig include the largest “zero net energy” community in the United States, a 130-acre West Village Campus at The University of California, Davis; along with Belmar, a 103-acre former shopping centre site that was redeveloped into a stunning new downtown in Lakewood, Colo., combining shopping, dining, entertainment, employment, residences, cultural venues and parks. Both the West Village Campus and Belmar received the prestigious Urban Land Institute Global Award of Excellence. Fleissig is also recognized as a thought leader in integrating transit and development, having served as a long-time board member of Reconnecting America and the Center for Transit Oriented Development.

Fleissig, who spearheaded the $1.25 billion funding package for the Port Lands revitalization while at Waterfront Toronto, has previously collaborated with Metrolinx, the Province, the City of Toronto and Infrastructure Canada.

With experience as a green builder, as a municipal planning head, and as a policy advisor to non-profit organizations, Fleissig has helped to shape the next generation of development and planning leaders through previous teaching positions at The University of Colorado’s Real Estate Center, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, School of Architecture and Planning Departments and at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

Fleissig will begin his role as chief development officer effective immediately.

(Woodbine)


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