Sun Life will install 300 employees in Mile End, near the offices of Ubisoft, the first major incursion of a financial company in this area renowned for having the highest concentration of artists in Canada.
Reportedly, Sun Life signed a conditional offer with Allied Properties to rent an entire floor at 5445 Avenue De Gaspé, near the Saint-Viateur. The Toronto real estate fund bought this building and its neighbor identical – two old giant textile mills – to create a new office center in the area.
“For us, this is really good news because we are trying to manage growth and expansion,” said Diane Lafontaine, Assistant Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Sun Life Financial.
A first group of a hundred workers will move by the end of the year. This will be especially developers of mobile applications and websites, which have already been notified of the move by their employer.
The decision to Sun Life is part of a trend observed for some years in Montreal and several other North American cities. More and more financial institutions move certain categories of employees to the suburbs in order to save on rent. TD and RBC were thus transferred about 3,000 workers in two buildings Mile-Ex district near Mile End.
“Whatever is the call center, back office, it does them no good to keep that [downtown] to $ 45 a square foot, so they can pay half the price in neighborhoods like Mile End, “said Andrew Maravita, CEO of real estate firm Colliers International Quebec.
At Sun Life, Diane Lafontaine says this transfer to the Mile End does not constitute a rationalization of activities, on the contrary. The group will retain its 11-story office in his historic skyscrapers of downtown, where approximately 1,900 people. New positions will also be created, said the spokesman.
The lease agreement for new office is signed, “but not 100% finalized,” said Ms. Lafontaine. The company analyzed buildings in several districts of Montreal for six months before making his choice on the Mile End. “It will be a new work environment a little more agile, which will allow innovation and creativity. ”
According to a real estate source familiar with the case, it is a “big blow” for the Toronto and Montreal fund Allied agent.
Allied has invested tens of millions to buy and renovate the two buildings of the Avenue De Gaspé, totaling 1 million square feet, more than the 1000 De La Gauchetière, the highest skyscraper in Montreal. This is the first time a purely financial company moved up shop in these offices.
A good “mix” according to artists
The influx of funds in the Allied Toronto Mile End has created a stir among artists, the ones who profited for years derisory rents in this semi-industrial sector of the Plateau Mont-Royal. After a strong mobilization in the early 2010, they reached an agreement with the Allied group for the rental of 200,000 ft 2 – over four floors – at preferential rates for 5445 and 5455, avenue De Gaspe, over a period of 30 years.
Successful experience to date, says Gilles Renaud, CEO of the non-profit organization Creative workshops, which manages these premises. “Cohabitation goes well, in the sense that there is a mix of uses and a certain synergy. It asked tame on both sides. “Mr. Renaud is not said worried about the impending arrival of Sun Life.