Australia's Westfield eyes Toronto development

Thu Sep 8, 2011 2:46am EDT
 
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian mall developer Westfield Group is looking at a possible investment in a waterfront site in Toronto, Canada, the company said on Thursday, after recently announcing expansions plans in Europe and South America.

Westfield last month said it was entering Brazil and Italy, extending its global reach to 124 shopping centers in five countries. Westfield does not have a presence in Canada.

Westfield said in a statement on its website that it was looking at the Toronto Port Lands site.

"With regard to the Toronto Port Lands site, Westfield has engaged in preliminary investigation to determine whether it is a suitable site and/or investment," the company said.

Westfield said it had met city officials to discuss the city's plans for the site, but had made no decision on whether it would participate.

The company also said it was complying with Canadian lobbying practices.

The Toronto Star reported that there had been a complaint about the talks not meeting lobbying practices in Canada.

The newspaper said the Toronto Municipal codes states anyone communicating with a councilor or their staff on matters including development or planning approvals must register with the city as a lobbyist, adding that the registry showed no entry for Westfield.

Westfield said: "While Westfield's discussions were preliminary and exploratory in nature, it is now in the process of satisfying any registration requirements under the City of Toronto lobbyist registration law."

(Reporting by Eriko Amaha; Editing by Ed Davies)