Need A Reason To Sign Small Tenants? Here's 2,500 of Them.
If you sign a small tech tenant now, one day they may be a huge tech tenant... paying rent in your building. In nine years, Global Relay went from 2,500 SF to just inking 62k SF—2,500% growth. It's Gastown’s biggest-ever office lease.
It's a $9M, five-year deal at the historic Leckie Building (220 Cambie St). Global Relay's Kelvin Ng (left, at the Gastown Grand Prix, a bike race the company paid $1M to sponsor over five years) says the firm has grown from three employees to 350 in under a decade. That the building’s owner and landlord, Talia Jevan Properties, has been able to facilitate this mushrooming within the same building, is “basically unheard of,” says Colliers International’s Colin Scarlett, who brokered the deal.
The Leckie Building, built in 1913, was acquired by Talia Jevan in 2006, and owner Harmel Ravat (below) paid $2M for an extensive exterior restoration, including brick work and new LED lighting. The brick and beam building has 90k SF of space over six floors—five and a half will now be Global Relay's. Harmel calls the firm's growth remarkable because it's maintained a conservative financial position, he says. The company expanded its office using cash on hand and reinvesting profits. Harmel tells us he wasn’t interested in a tenant that was taking on mountains of debt.
Harmel isn't chasing short-term yields, he says; he wants the Leckie Building to be successful over time, which starts with quality tenants. He's kept Global Relay happy, including offering up the rooftop for use as a deck. Global Relay, which has an in-house chef prepare staff lunch, also plans to expand its kitchen and lounge. Such amenities attract talent in the ultra-competitive tech sphere, particularly in Vancouver, Kelvin points out. (We're considering going back to school for computer programming, just so we don't have to bring PB&J every day anymore.)