Lease Renewal Agreement

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Words by John Hutchinson. Photo by flickr user Danielle Scott.

I am pleased to be able to share some very good news with our congregation. As most will know, we have benefited since the 1820’s from land lease payments on about 1/3rd of the land now under the Hudson’s Bay store at Queen & Yonge, the original location of our congregation. The amounts are renegotiated every 21 years, with the most recent period ending December 31, 2013, although your trustees have been working on this since 2009 with our legal, planning and appraiser advisors. Under the terms of the lease, if the two parties cannot agree on a new lease amount through negotiation, they enter a time-consuming and expensive arbitration process where the final amount is determined by a third party. In spite of many changes during the negotiation period, including the untimely death of our first appraiser, and the sale of the Hudson’s Bay store to Cadillac Fairview this past January, we have just this past week been able to reach agreement without resorting to arbitration. We know that many of you have been praying on this, and thank you for your prayers which have now been answered.

Under the renewed lease, our annual income will increase from just under $1.3 million to $2.4 million, a $1.1 million increase. This is a substantial increase, but one that is essential for the financial security of our congregation. In the first place, we need to put away a large portion of the increase in the first half of the lease period to account for inflation which will reduce the real value of the payments in the latter part (a dollar today will not be worth a dollar in 21 years). As well, we are facing significant capital and operating expense increases as Knox renews its ministries and buildings in the coming years. Therefore, every dollar of the lease increase and of our own offerings will be needed in the coming years.

We’ll be providing more details on this at next month’s congregational meeting. In the meantime, to celebrate this milestone, and to thank the congregation for its support during this process, please join the trustees for cake following the morning and afternoon services next Sunday. Thank you.

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