OOH giants bid for street furniture contract

Thousands of transit shelters, garbage and recycling bins, newspaper boxes, bike racks, public washrooms - that's what the bidders for Toronto's street furniture contract want to provide. After the door closed to proposals yesterday, three players remained at the table. It may all come down to who promises the biggest chunk of ad revenue to the megacity's mega pockets.

What’s at stake is access to 25,000 items – 5,000 transit shelters, 12,500 garbage bins, 1,000 bike racks, benches, and 2,500 newspaper boxes – over 20 years. Who wants to provide them, for the cost of giving up some of the ad revenue to the city, plus an additional cost of paying for a $100,000 design links study and $285,000 in other program costs? When the door closed to bidders yesterday, Astral Media, Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor had proposals on the table.

Astral Media’s proposal offers the city a street furniture line-up designed by Toronto-based Kramer Design Associates – the same firm Astral partnered with in 2005 to create the INFOTOGO pillars in Toronto’s parks. Clear Channel Outdoor’s partners include Ziedler Partnership Architects, Creative Outdoor Advertising and Rogers Communications. Both firms went a little more public than CBS Outdoor with their proposals by issuing press releases to announce the submissions. All three proposals are under review, a process expected to take about two months, by a panel of five jurors.

In the days leading up to the Jan. 31 deadline, major international players in the street furniture game pulled out of the race for Toronto’s future streetscapes. Firms such as France’s JCDecaux, Spain’s Cemusa (which got the New York deal last year) and Oakville, Ontario’s Pattison Outdoor all pulled out.