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CIBC SQUARE’s fully leased first tower is open

The first phase of the two-tower three-million-square-foot CIBC SQUARE, 81 Bay in downtown Toront...

IMAGE: The CIBC SQUARE two-tower development in downtown Toronto. (Courtesy Ivanhoé Cambridge / Sierra Curtis)

The CIBC SQUARE two-tower development in downtown Toronto. (Courtesy CIBC SQUARE / Sierra Curtis Photography)

The first phase of the two-tower three-million-square-foot CIBC SQUARE, 81 Bay in downtown Toronto, is now fully leased and welcoming tenants into their new spaces.

“We’re very proud of this impressive tenant roster that we’ve achieved at 81 Bay,” Charlie Musgrave, Ivanhoé Cambridge senior director of office leasing for North America, told RENX. “CIBC, Microsoft, Boston Consulting Group and AGF are some of the larger multi-floor tenants of the building and there are a host of other amazing companies.”

The companies which most recently secured leases at 81 Bay are Business Development Bank of Canada, Pollara Strategic Insights and CRIMSON Asset Management.

Finishing touches on some amenity spaces and landscaping around the exterior of 81 Bay, and its signature park which spans the neighbouring railway corridor, are being completed, according to Musgrave.

Ground was broken on CIBC SQUARE’s second tower, 141 Bay, in March. Excavation is well underway and concrete pouring around the exterior has begun. The building is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines are partners in the project.

Demand for leasing remains

CIBC is the lead office tenant of CIBC SQUARE with approximately 1.65 million square feet leased across its 49- and 50-storey towers. It has pre-leased 43 per cent of 141 Bay, which leaves about 850,000 square feet available.

“The CIBC SQUARE complex represents the new international standard of office buildings,” said Musgrave. “This building is setting new benchmarks and high-water marks for architecture and design.

“We feel that we’re in a very comfortable position relative to 141 Bay leasing, as we have a great selection of investment-grade tenant prospects with lease expiries in the 2024 and 2025 time frame firmly on our radar.”

Musgrave said he’s already in talks with, and conducting tours on a weekly basis for, some prospective tenants.

“There’s been an insatiable demand for very high-quality office space in the Toronto market, across the country, across the continent and around the world. Tenant demand for high-quality office space has not wavered.”

Musgrave noted no tenants have reduced their footprints at CIBC SQUARE due to pandemic-related concerns and that’s been the case pretty much across the board for Ivanhoé Cambridge’s international portfolio of AAA office assets.

What CIBC SQUARE offers

“By choosing CIBC SQUARE, our tenant partners have made a strategic investment in their physical workspace,” said Musgrave. “More importantly, they’ve made a commitment to the health, wellness, safety and overall satisfaction of their employees within the physical workspace.

“Employees are undoubtedly the most important line item on every company’s balance sheet. So ultimately these companies are making a significant investment in their people.

“From initial conception, Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines have prioritized their efforts towards creating a highly differentiated employee experience for CIBC SQUARE.”

CIBC SQUARE will have WiredScore Platinum accreditation for its high level of digital connectivity. Musgrave said it will also have the best vertical transportation and air quality in the marketplace, while its security features and protocols are second to none relative to any other AAA-class tower in Toronto.

While 81 Bay offers sensor technology and a touchless experience, that will be enhanced for 141 Bay.

“With the staggered delivery between 81 and 141 Bay, we’re in the advantageous position of learning from potential oversights at 81 Bay and incorporating them into the 141 Bay fabric,” said Musgrave.

ESG continues to be a focus

Ivanhoé Cambridge, Hines and anchor tenant CIBC are all committed to environmental, social and governance objectives and striving to make CIBC SQUARE Canada’s most inclusive working environment, according to Musgrave.

CIBC SQUARE’s features will include:

– access to year-round green space on the one-acre sky park that spans railroad tracks and connects the two towers at the fourth floor;

– easy walking, biking and public transit access, plus more than 500 bicycle parking spaces in each tower;

– public art throughout the buildings;

– a tenant-dedicated 17,000-square-foot fitness facility;

– an animal relief zone where support animals for visually impaired people can have water and relieve themselves;

– gender-neutral washrooms and change rooms throughout the complex;

– and food and beverage options catering to day and night-time economies with bars that are open in the evening.

“We’re making the campus so incredibly well-positioned for a post-COVID world,” said Musgrave. “Every square foot of common area at CIBC SQUARE has been thoughtfully designed, and connected via Wi-Fi, to engage our tenants and act as an extension to their physical workspace.”

The WilkinsonEyre and Adamson Associates Architects-designed CIBC SQUARE is regarded as an extension of the Union Station master plan due to the implementation of a Metrolinx transit facility at 81 Bay, according to Musgrave.

That enabled it to earn an Imagination, Manufacturing, Innovation and Technology business incentive grant, which supports new building construction or building expansion in targeted sectors and areas across the city, from the City of Toronto.

“It’s a subsidy on municipal taxes which allows for a very competitive rental structure for the buildings,” said Musgrave.

Green construction loan

IMAGE: Charlie Musgrave, Ivanhoé Cambridge's senior director of office leasing for North America. (Courtesy Ivanhoé Cambridge)

Charlie Musgrave, Ivanhoé Cambridge’s senior director of office leasing for North America. (Courtesy Ivanhoé Cambridge)

CIBC SQUARE’s two towers were designed to achieve LEED and WELL Platinum designations and are also targeting the WELL Health-Safety Rating.

CIBC SQUARE will be the first office complex in Toronto to reduce water consumption by capturing, filtering and sanitizing groundwater for use in on-site washrooms, along with rainwater. It will also have complex-wide waste reduction and diversion programs, such as waste and organic-sorting stations, and water dispensers to encourage the use of reusable cups.

Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines received a $780-million green construction loan from CIBC, Desjardins Capital Markets and HSBC Bank Canada for 141 Bay, which is the largest in Canadian history, in June. Green loans are made exclusively to finance or refinance new or existing eligible sustainable and green projects, and all of the money will be used for the building’s construction.

The loan is aligned with the green loan principles established by the Asia Pacific Loan Market Association, the Loan Market Association and the Loan Syndications and Trading Association.

Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines

Montreal-headquartered Ivanhoé Cambridge is the real estate subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. It holds interests in more than 1,100 buildings — primarily in the industrial and logistics, office, residential and retail sectors. It held $60.4 billion in real estate assets at the end of 2020.

Ivanhoé Cambridge has active developments south of the border in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Boston and Denver.

“We have a selection of developments that are currently either under construction or planned across North America,” said Musgrave. “We’ve got a wonderful pipeline of developments and we are actively engaged in dialogues and negotiations around other opportunities across Canada and America for new office developments.”

Hines was founded in Houston in 1957 and manages approximately $83.6 billion US of real estate investments around the globe. It’s one of the world’s largest privately held real estate investors and managers and has a presence in 255 cities in 27 countries.

Hines also provides third-party property-level services to more than 367 properties totalling 138.3 million square feet. Historically, it has developed, redeveloped or acquired approximately 1,486 properties totalling more than 492 million square feet.

The firm has more than 171 developments underway around the world.

Since the launch of its Canadian operations in 2004, Hines has developed, acquired and/or managed more than 14 million square feet of office, retail, residential and mixed-use developments. It has offices in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton.

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