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CF opens Toronto’s 'incredible' 160 Front St. W. office tower

47-storey, 1.26M sq. ft. high-rise a marquee property for Cadillac Fairview in city core

160 Front St. W. in downtown Toronto. (Steve McLean RENX)
Cadillac Fairview's new 160 Front St. W. office tower in downtown Toronto. (Steve McLean RENX)

Its two primary tenants won’t start moving in for a few months, but Cadillac Fairview’s marquee 47-storey, 1.26-million-square-foot office tower at 160 Front St. W. in downtown Toronto is officially open for business.

Ground was broken in April 2019 and Cadillac Fairview president and chief executive officer Sal Iacono told RENX that — during a period which included three COVID-19 pandemic-related government shutdowns and supply chain issues, as well as rising construction costs and interest rates — the building came in relatively on budget but delayed by about a year.

The uniquely curved tower with eye-catching exterior lighting was described by Iacono as “timeless and beautiful” and “an incredible addition to the Toronto skyline" following its grand opening on Jan. 29. 160 Front was designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

The top level of the tower features 9,332 square feet of hospitality-driven, multi-function amenity space providing panoramic views of downtown.

The building includes 339 parking stalls with 11 electric vehicle charging stations and 507 bicycle stalls on four underground levels, as well as cycling end-of-trip facilities. There are 26 high-speed passenger elevators and two service lifts.

The heritage facade of the 117-year-old building previously located on the site was restored and integrated into the four-storey podium.

The LEED Platinum and WELL Building Standard-certified building incorporates a state-of-the-art curtain wall system, the latest smart building technology, an ultra-high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, and a full-building back-up generator system. 

It uses Enwave’s deep lake water cooling system, has a reclaimed rainwater system, and offers Cadillac Fairview’s Green at Work program that harnesses leading global practices to integrate sustainability into property management and operations. 

160 Front was 99 per cent pre-leased

Perhaps even more impressive, in the current depressed office market, is that 160 Front was 99 per cent leased at the start of construction and none of that space has been subsequently put on the sublet market.

TD Bank Group will occupy 895,530 square feet of the office space, with Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP) occupying 341,313 square feet. TD also has what's known as the "TD Terrace" on the upper exterior of the building as part of its space. Cadillac Fairview is a wholly owned subsidiary of OTPP.

TD is expected to begin occupancy in April, and that process should be completed by the end of this year or early 2025. OTPP will start moving in to its space in March and should be fully transferred from its current head office at 5650 Yonge St. by June or July. 

CF Management leased 4,789 square feet and 3,046 square feet was leased speculatively.

There’s also 12,920 square feet of retail space at ground level. A flagship TD bank branch will occupy 5,680 square feet and advanced negotiations are taking place to bring in a restaurant operator, which would also have patio space on Simcoe Street.

A PATH tunnel connects to an additional 120,000 square feet of retail in adjacent blocks.

Office portfolio remains stable

An interior view of 160 Front St. W. in Toronto. (Courtesy Cadillac Fairview)
An interior view of  a common area at 160 Front St. W. in Toronto. (Courtesy Cadillac Fairview)

Despite higher vacancies and increased subleasing activity in the Canadian office market, Iacono said Cadillac Fairview’s portfolio is largely comprised of AAA buildings in prime locations and is relatively healthy, with an occupancy rate just shy of 90 per cent.

“Through the last couple of years, we've had incredible results, with in excess of 90 per cent renewals of our existing clients,” Iacono said. “We've also been active in leasing new space, especially in our Vancouver portfolio and to some extent here in Toronto. 

“The majority of our clients are the corporate who’s who of Canada and they have programs and processes in place that are encouraging their employees to return to the office.”

Cadillac Fairview office assets have become a “destination in the flight to quality” for companies leaving, or considering leaving, their current spaces, Iacono added.

Iacono said there are a couple of full floors available at the 33-storey, 870,000-square-foot 16 York and pockets of space in the Toronto-Dominion Centre in downtown Toronto, as well as spaces of from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet across Cadillac Fairview’s office portfolio in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary.

No new office development currently planned

Cadillac Fairview is wholly owned by OTPP and is one of the largest owners, operators, investors and developers of office, retail, multifamily, industrial and mixed-use properties in North America. It has assets under management valued at more than $30 billion. 

The company manages more than 35 million square feet of leasable space at 68 properties across Canada and has a 50-million-square-foot land bank.

While Cadillac Fairview owns sites zoned for office development, Iacono said it has no current plans to start new projects.

“When there's a little more buoyancy or need, or once absorption has reached the point where it makes sense to consider those potential sites here in Toronto or Vancouver, or even in Montreal for that matter, then we will do so,” he said. 

“The best thing that we do is to always be prepared and keep on the lookout for those next opportunities.”

Intensification of retail properties

Much of Cadillac Fairview’s development focus is now on intensifying its retail properties, primarily with multifamily buildings. 

The company is partnered with Alberta Investment Management Corporation and Shape Properties and will deliver approximately 1,000 condominium units in space previously used for parking at CF Richmond Centre in Richmond, B.C. in the next year. There are also plans to launch a second residential phase on the site.

Intensification will also take place at CF Sherway Gardens and CF Fairview Mall in the Greater Toronto Area and CF Carrefour Laval in suburban Montreal.

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