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Breather Wants To Own Toronto’s Market For On-Demand Meeting Space

Global on-demand meeting space provider Breather has inked three new leases in Toronto, expanding its holdings here to 17K SF in 16 buildings. Portfolio strategy head Greg Hayes said the goal is to double its TO presence by year’s end.

Breather real estate manager Greg Hayes

Breather, which launched here last March, signed a five-year, 1,855 SF lease at Allied Properties REIT-owned Queen Richmond Centre West (134 Peter St.). It also secured five-year leases at Oxford Properties Group’s 120 Adelaide St. W (900 SF) and 1 Adelaide St. E (1,100 SF), marking Breather’s first foray into Class-A office towers in the financial district. (Lennard Commercial Realty’s Joseph Wise worked on the deals.) “We provide meeting spaces for companies that are bursting at the seams, without them needing to increase their footprints within buildings,” Hayes said.

Breather's location at 120 Adelaide St W

Hayes, based in New York, came to Breather following a five-year stint with Oxford. Elise Trudeau, who joined the firm earlier this year, oversees Breather’s Canadian real estate. (It is also operating in Montreal.) Toronto clients include Virgin Mobile, Royal Bank of Canada, Shopify, Public Mobile, Eli Lilly Canada Pharmaceuticals and Drop. “A lot of companies are growing in this hot market,” Hayes said, within fashion, tech and financial sectors in particular. “They need high-quality meeting and workspaces, there’s just not a decent amount of new product coming online imminently.”

Elise Trudeau, Breather's Canadian real estate lead

No other company in Toronto does what Breather does, according to Hayes. There are co-working space providers, “but that’s not the market we play in,” he said. Breather either takes on leases or forms partnerships with landlords, “and we’re really the only game in town.” The four-year-old company has raised $70M to date, and is in hyper-growth mode at the moment, Hayes said. Its Toronto locations are concentrated in the financial core and entertainment and fashion districts, and Trudeau said Breather plans to expand this year into Liberty Village, Yorkville, South Core and Discovery District.

Breather's meeting space at 1 Adelaide St E

The company has 300 spaces across 10 global markets. In the U.S., Google, Apple, Facebook, BuzzFeed and Uber are among the big-name clients using Breather’s off-site meeting rooms, which can be booked via the web or mobile app. Landlord partners include Blackstone, Vornado, Tishman Speyer and SL Green. “We provide an amenity they don’t have to charge tenants extra for to operate, and they receive rent from us,” Hayes said. Breather has leased 21 spaces in Toronto in the past year, and the plan is to more than double its footprint here by the end of 2017. “This is one of the fastest-growing markets we’ve launched in.”