Think Research to anchor The Shift office tower in Toronto

Image: The Shift, being built at 25 Ontario St., in Toronto by First Gulf. (Rendering courtesy First Gulf)

The Shift, being built at 25 Ontario St., in Toronto by First Gulf. (Rendering courtesy First Gulf)

First Gulf has its anchor tenant for The Shift, a Toronto development that broke ground in November and is aiming for completion by early 2022.

Digital healthcare platform provider Think Research will occupy nearly 90,000 square feet of the 24-storey, 462,000-square-foot building going up at 25 Ontario St. in the eastern part of downtown.

“We want to be where the action is,” said Think Research senior vice-president of marketing Roger Beharry Lall. “We see a number of tech firms moving east. This area is becoming the next hub for innovative firms, and we want to help lead that change.”

They’ll do so in a new office which will rise out of a historic Toronto structure.

“The two-storey, 1942-built Drug Trading Company administrative office building at the corner of Ontario and Adelaide was on the site,” said Andy Gibb, First Gulf’s senior manager of marketing and proposals. “This heritage structure will act as the lobby, with the entrance facing on to Ontario Street.”

Toronto-based First Gulf acquired the property in 2013.

The Shift’s features

The Sweeny&Co-designed The Shift will have flexible workplace design options and floor-to-ceiling windows on each floor.

The Shift will be equipped with smart building technology which includes a built-in fibre-optic backbone network to control and monitor lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, elevators and security, as well as power and water consumption. Tenants will have the ability to monitor and control these systems through a computer or mobile device.

This technology will allow building operators and tenants to adjust energy usage according to what they need so no excess energy is wasted. This will also minimize The Shift’s carbon footprint.

The Shift is targeting LEED Gold Core & Shell and WELL Core & Shell certifications. It will incorporate outdoor terraces and green spaces for tenants as part of creating a healthy and sustainable work environment.

“The building itself has great design, an attractive skyline and the opportunity to put our name on something new,” said Beharry Lall. “It’s symbolic of the change in the city, and also our growth as a company.”

While The Shift will have a retail component on the ground floor, there are as yet no details about what it will include.

The Shift’s neighbourhood

The Shift tenants will have access to restaurants, cafes, spas, fitness facilities, parks, daycares and a number of other services within a 10-minute walk.

“To attract our relatively young, hyper-talented staff, we need to be downtown to accommodate lifestyle needs,” said Beharry Lall.

The Shift has decent proximity to the Gardiner Expressway, Don Valley Parkway and Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) streetcar stops. First Gulf will also provide a shuttle bus to the TTC and GO Transit hubs at Union Station, which should help attract tenants with employees from both the core and the suburbs. The Shift will include five levels of underground parking, including space for bicycles.

Think Research and First Gulf

Think Research has undergone rapid expansion and has more than 220 employees and hundreds of clients worldwide. To accommodate this growth, the company has relocated to First Gulf’s fully leased, 17-storey, 500,000-square-foot, LEED Gold-certified The Globe and Mail Centre at nearby 351 King St. E. and is occupying the entire fifth floor until it can move into The Shift.

Think Research anticipates having a staff of more than 500 by the time it moves into The Shift.

First Gulf has developed more than 30 million square feet of office, retail, mixed-use and industrial real estate valued at more than $4 billion since its inception in 1987.


Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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