The Co-operators has deep roots in Guelph, Ont., and that bond will continue for decades to come as the firm plans construction of a new head office in the south end of the city.
“We’re thrilled to remain in Guelph and a community that we’ve been a part of for over 50 years,” said Shawn Fitzgerald, The Co-operators’ vice-president of procurement and workplace services.
The multi-line insurance and financial services organization has acquired an empty property at 101 Cooper Dr. It plans to build a 215,000-square-foot building which will consolidate its three existing Guelph offices and nearly 1,200 employees.
Financial terms for the new office property haven’t been disclosed.
The Co-operators currently has its headquarters in downtown Guelph, where it’s the anchor tenant in a mid-rise office building on Macdonnell Street.
Design by Neo Architecture
The Co-operators will own and be the sole tenant of the new building, which is being designed by Kitchener, Ont.-based Neo Architecture Inc.
“Neo has a regional practice in Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph, and is very familiar with the area and working with the City of Guelph,” said Fitzgerald. “They’re going to be a key partner for us moving forward.”
Construction is to begin in the spring of 2021, with an anticipated move-in about two years later. This will coincide with the end of The Co-operators’ leases at the three current properties in September 2023.
“We saw this as an opportunity to accommodate all of our local and commuting employees in one campus,” said Fitzgerald. “That campus will reflect our commitment to environmental sustainability and employee health and wellness.”
Targeting WELL and LEED Gold
The Co-operators will be the first insurance and financial services company to target a WELL certification for a new building in Canada. The WELL Building Standard is the world’s first building standard to focus exclusively on the health and wellness of the people in buildings.
In its efforts to achieve the certification, The Co-operators will prioritize natural light throughout the building, and the property will feature in-house athletic facilities, healthy food services, and outdoor nature trails and activity areas.
“We’re still working on a lot of details,” said Fitzgerald. “We want to make sure that we’re taking the necessary time to plan to make this a success.”
The project will also pursue LEED Gold certification from the Canada Green Building Council for leadership in energy and environmental design.
“As a co-operative, we want to ensure that we integrate financial, environmental and social sustainability into everything that we do,” said Fitzgerald.
About The Co-operators
The Co-operators has more than 70 years of history. It has a membership that includes co-operatives and credit union centrals that represent sectors including agriculture, finance, service, retail/consumer, health and labour.
Through its integrated group of companies, The Co-operators offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. It has more than $42.5 billion in assets under administration.