Real estate tycoon John Ritter leaves Ontario Place demolition

Image copyright 50 Square Foot Reuters Image caption Some of the Ottawa properties sold for a loss, but the ratio was far better than expected

American real estate investor and software entrepreneur John Ritter has landed a commanding property portfolio after his WE Charity Trust sold a downtown Toronto office block.

The building, Ontario Place , was sold for $36 million.

With the proceeds, Mr Ritter expects to expand the charity, which he founded in 2016 to help people with intellectual disabilities.

“If it weren’t for WE Charity, Ontario Place wouldn’t be here, and Ontario Place wouldn’t have played a role in Canadians’ lives for the last 32 years,” Mr Ritter told the Canada Press .

More than 30 of the charities properties were sold, including the foreboding Ambassador Tower in Ottawa.

Image copyright Marko Gielen/Yomiuri Shimbun Image caption The Canadian government bought Ambassador Tower to try to bring jobs and investment to the city. But it hasn’t worked out

The property, dubbed White Palace, was redeveloped in 2013 after the Canadian government purchased it and planned to turn it into a public mall.

It has fallen on hard times, however, and has attracted vandals’ attention.

Image copyright AWB Image caption Yomiuri Shimbun photojournalist Timie Yukich worked on a side-by-side reconstruction of the Ambassador Tower

On Yomiuri Shimbun’s website, a side-by-side reconstruction shows the Ambassador Tower’s supposed facade, while the image of the demolished building is visible at street level.

Our mission is still to make sure that Ontario Place is rebuilt and that is precisely what we are going to do

Image copyright OLTM Image caption The WE charity bought the Ambassador Tower in 2012

In recent years, the property had been heavily damaged by fire.

In late 2015, the Canadian government sold the land for $72.5 million to a real estate investor group.

Mr Ritter is turning the site into apartments, a museum and a skate park, he said.

Image copyright Ariel Nunez Image caption 50 square feet / 2 x 2 feet, or 1.2 x 1.2 feet

“Our mission is still to make sure that Ontario Place is rebuilt and that is precisely what we are going to do,” he told CBC.

“We have an aggressive project, big project, to turn around Ontario Place. We can’t finish in a few years, and that’s not what this dream is about.”

More information about the Canadian charity can be found on its website.

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