More Room For The Tech Boom
A lot of business is being done with tech firms in the downtown core, DTZ's Cameron Mitchell says, which is what makes the new MaRS Centre (Phase 2) at 661 University Ave that much more interesting.
Cameron calls it an “eco-system of tenants” or an “innovation hub”—growing, young, entrepreneurial startup companies not only in areas like tech, but also healthcare and life sciences, in offices as small as 1k SF, next to VC companies, marketing, and law firms. (Everybody's playing nice, at least until softball season.) Plus they are strategically located for these companies—MaRS is close to U of T, and several hospitals. “They want to be close to companies that can help them grow and scale their business,” he says. “Many are looking for mentorship.” DTZ is handling office leasing for the brand new building and is focused on securing a large Fortune 500 company to help fill the vacancy. Cameron is QB'ing it with colleague Matthew McTavish.
Phase 2 of the new development just completed—780k SF of space. The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and Public Health Ontario just signed on. There’s still 400k SF of available space—expect 10% of that to go in the next few weeks. “Goal line stuff” is how Cameron describes office lease deals that he can’t get into specifics about, but are close to getting done. Open, communal settings, flexible space options and rent ($52/SF at MaRS) that’s workable for many of these startups, an “incubator” environment that’s an interesting office trend for the core (not literally, though, they generally keep the temperature in the high 60s) and something Cameron and people like Hullmark president Jeff Hull say should really grow and evolve. “You are going to see a lot more of this,” Cameron tells us. “There is a lot of seed capital out there looking to invest in these companies.”
Cameron and Hullmark have actually done business already in this area. Cameron acted on behalf of Mercatus Technologies, a company that took 40k SF of cool space in Hullmark’s five-storey 545 King St W building (image) that is currently being renovated, another one of these smaller, tech-driven incubator office environments, similar to WeWork Labs in the US (16 locations in LA, NYC and San Francisco).