Leading developers to build office high-rises in Toronto, Vancouver

by Ephraim Vecina19 Mar 2019

Two leading developers are set to undertake major projects that they predicted would “reshape” the downtown areas of the country’s top metropolitan markets.

Allied Properties REIT and Westbank will be constructing office towers primarily catering to the burgeoning tech sector, an industry hailed by various observers as a major contributor to the stability of Canada’s commercial real estate segment.

In Toronto, the 264-metre Union Centre will be situated nearby Union Station, and will offer 1.7 million square feet of office and data-centre space along with an event venue.

“[Union Centre] is a sign of what Toronto is becoming,” Westbank chief executive Ian Gillespie told The Globe and Mail.

“The city isn’t just about finance any more. It’s about everything: tech, culture and a variety of other pursuits.”

Read more: Vancouver’s high-rises enjoying sustained growth in value

In Vancouver, Allied Properties REIT and Westbank will be erecting their 500,000 sq. ft. tower beside BC Place. This volume would make the project one of the city’s largest office buildings.

These developments are just a few of the indicators of much-accelerated development and demand over the next few years.

Marcus & Millichap predicted that a majority of this hunger for office space will be coming from tech firms, many of which have already established firm roots in Canada’s largest commercial markets.

Helping this is the fact that tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon will likely hire tens of thousands of new workers and spend billions in office expansions within the next half-decade.

“Microsoft currently has 2,300 employees in the country and 14,000 partners, which could grow to 60,000 overall jobs between employees and partners. Amazon will also grow substantially with plans for 6,000 new jobs across corporate offices in Vancouver and Toronto and multiple new fulfillment centres,” Marcus & Millichap stated in its recent report.

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