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Behind The Deal: Shopify To Anchor King-Portland Centre

Shopify Inc has signed on as lead tenant at King-Portland Centre, taking 112k SF and spurring development of the Allied Properties REIT / RioCan REIT project. Ashlar Urban Realty partner Michael Scace walks us through the deal.

Behind The Deal: Shopify To Anchor King-Portland Centre

We snapped Michael, left, with sales reps Jerome Werniuk and Alan Rawn on site at 620 King St W, future home of King-Portland Centre. A new structure will be integrated into the existing restored (and fully leased) heritage property at 602-606 King St W, and Michael tells us rapidly growing e-commerce firm Shopify—having filled up its current home at Allied’s 80 Spadina—will occupy levels nine to 14, with a patio on the top floor and another on the 12th. Shopify will get exterior signage at King-Portland Centre, plus other branding opportunities that Michael says they “weren’t going to find in other buildings.” 

Behind The Deal: Shopify To Anchor King-Portland Centre

King-Portland Centre, with 256k SF of new office and 13k SF of retail, will extend from King West north to Adelaide Street West, giving the structure a unique floor plate, Michael notes, “rather than a typical boxy design.” That was appealing to Shopify, which had approached Ashlar late last year to help source a larger character space that would give the firm room to expand—100k SF at least. “A difficult task,” says Michael. "There aren’t a lot of large blocks available downtown right now, especially in King West.” King-Portland Centre, seeking an anchor to trigger construction, fast emerged as the best fit.      

Behind The Deal: Shopify To Anchor King-Portland Centre

The development boasts a choice location, Michael notes, and the fact Shopify is an existing Allied tenant will ensure flexibility when transitioning from its digs at 80 Spadina. Shopify will have input into the design of the new premises, and Michael says the firm is working with Allied on a common vision for the space. (The end result should be satisfactory, given the developer's track record with high-profile projects like QRC West, just named NAIOP’s Office Development of the Year.

Behind The Deal: Shopify To Anchor King-Portland Centre

King-Portland Centre's site has more than 61k SF of frontage on King West, Portland Street and Adelaide, and the project will include 116 residential rental units along its Adelaide-facing side (to be managed by RioCan, a 50/50 JV partner with Allied on the development). Occupancy at King-Portland Centre is slated for early 2019, and the project will target LEED CS Platinum. That wasn’t necessarily a deal-maker for Shopify, says Michael, “but it’s a nice cherry on top.”