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Toronto’s CIBC Square adds BCG as second tenant

Downtown Toronto’s recently renamed CIBC Square development has added a second major tenant, Bost...

Downtown Toronto’s recently renamed CIBC Square development has added a second major tenant, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), four years before it will be ready for move-in.

CIBC Square in Toronto.

CIBC Square in Toronto. (Rendering courtesy Ivanhoé Cambridge)

“We’re very excited to have them,” said Jonathan Pearce, senior vice-president of office leasing for Ivanhoé Cambridge, which co-owns the development site at 81 and 141 Bay St. with Houston-based Hines. “Having a tenant of that calibre is just fantastic from a landlord’s perspective.”

Ground broke on CIBC Square in June.

BCG will be part of the project’s first phase and will take approximately 85,000 square feet of office space over two full floors and one partial floor in its south tower.

More than 300 employees will move from BCG’s current Toronto offices at Brookfield Place upon its lease expiration into a new work environment featuring state-of-the-art amenities, collaborative spaces and views of Lake Ontario and the city’s skyline.

“I can’t speak for them, but I think a big part of the move is to achieve the goal to position the company so they can continue to attract and retain the brightest and best talent,” said Pearce.

BCG, a global management consulting firm with 90 offices in 50 countries, is scheduled to start leasehold improvements at CIBC Square in 2020 and should open for business there in mid-2021. BCG didn’t immediately respond to requests from RENX for an interview.

“When a company like Boston Consulting takes space, they look not only at head counts and what they need today but also project out,” said Pearce. “My understanding is that they’ve already built in some anticipated growth into the space that they’ve leased.”

CIBC’s space commitment

CIBC announced in April it would be the anchor tenant of the development formerly known as Bay Park Centre. Some 15,000 employees will move into approximately 1.75 million square feet of space in two 49- and 50-storey class-AAA buildings that will total 2.9 million square feet when completed between 2020 and 2023.

While no other companies have yet committed to CIBC Square, Pearce said his leasing teams are busy and have spoken to plenty of prospective tenants.

“There’s obviously the traditional corporate users you’d expect for a high-profile headquarters building right next to Union Station,” said Pearce. “But in addition to financial, legal and professional services, we’re also seeing a lot of interest from the technology sector.

“That’s a phenomenon that we’ve seen across our office space in North America. While tech companies love those creative warehouse-style buildings, sometimes they find that, as they grow, those buildings aren’t capable of supporting them from an infrastructure standpoint.

“We’re subsequently seeing a lot of the larger technology users taking space in what I would call more traditional buildings downtown.”

CIBC Square’s accessibility and sustainability benefits

CIBC Square will complete downtown Toronto’s Union Station campus master plan with a new GO bus terminal and through providing direct links to all of downtown’s transit channels, including the subway, GO Train, Via Rail, PATH pedestrian walkway and the Union Pearson Express train. The Bay East Teamway will be renovated and will provide immediate access to the GO Train platforms.

CIBC Square will also feature a one-acre elevated park connecting the two towers at the fourth-floor level.

CIBC Square was designed by architectural firms WilkinsonEyre and Adamson Associates Architects to attain LEED Platinum Core & Shell and WELL Building Standard certifications, as well as a WiredScore Platinum accreditation.

“If you look at the marquee developments around the world, I think you’ll find that they have one thing in common, which is they’re either right on top of or right next to transit,” said Pearce.

“All companies of all walks of life — traditional, creative and corporate — are realizing that being accessible, having access to light, having a LEED building and a WELL-designated building, and access to green space and transit is becoming a major driver.”

Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines partnership

Montreal-based Ivanhoé Cambridge is a real estate subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers.

Through multiple subsidiaries and partnerships, Ivanhoé Cambridge holds interests in nearly 800 buildings and had assets in North America, South America, Europe and Asia valued at approximately $56 billion at the end of 2016.

Hines is a privately owned global real estate investment firm with a presence in 189 cities in 20 countries. The firm’s property and asset management portfolio includes more than 213 million square feet of space at 533 properties. It also has 114 developments underway around the world.

Hines is the development manager of the four-hectare CIBC Square site.

Hines and Ivanhoé Cambridge have been partners for more than 15 years on developments including Tour T1 and B in La Défense and ARDEKO in Paris, Eighth Avenue Place East and West Towers in Calgary, and River Point in Chicago.

They’re also collaborating on the DUO project in Paris that should be completed in 2020.

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