Why Everyone Wants to Lease Office Space at Scotia Plaza

November 17, 2023 3 Minute Read

Scotia Plaza in Toronto

Turns out the hottest office building in Toronto for leasing right now is actually not a brand new one.

In fact it is the venerable red-granite Scotia Plaza, whose owners Kingsett Capital and AIMCo have invested $84 million on major renovations, including a full lobby revamp, new food court, and new elevators for the iconic 1988 office tower.

Scotia Plaza’s owners also invested significantly in sustainability, transforming the building into the first Zero Carbon Performance certified office tower in Canada.

Over the past six months CBRE has worked with KingSett to complete 225,000 sq. ft. worth of new leasing deals with Fogler Rubinoff LLP, Northleaf Capital Partners, Pacific Life RE, and Sage Software Canada.

All of them moved to Scotia Plaza from other locations in the downtown core.

Law firm Miller Thomson LLP, an existing Scotia Plaza tenant, moved up higher in the tower, and will create a brand new space that provides employees an appealing place to come to work post-pandemic.

As downtown Toronto’s only Zero Carbon Performance certified office building, Scotia Plaza boasts amenities that ESG-minded tenants appreciate, including EV-ready and Tesla charging stations; secured and covered on-site parking for 100-plus bikes; end-of-commute facilities including showers; free fitness classes; and direct connection to King subway station.

These lease deals speak to a growing confidence in the Toronto office market. - Byron Ahmet

Leasing Momentum

All of it is helping to attract tenants and create leasing momentum for Scotia Plaza. And there are still a number of opportunities in the building, including more than 100,000 sq. ft. available near the top of the tower in 2025.

“It has been outperforming, and these lease deals speak to a growing confidence in the Toronto office market,” says Byron Ahmet, who worked on the transactions with teammates Callie Milavsky Osler, Elaine Jenkins and Jeff Friedman.

“Buildings don’t have to be brand new as long as forward-looking landlords like KingSett and AIMCo are doing the right things with their assets to compete with the new builds; namely undertaking ESG initiatives and investing substantially in modernizing the spaces.”

There are plans to create a meeting and amenity space on Scotia Plaza’s top floor, Ahmet says, and this was key to leasing up the building. Half the space will be rentable to outside groups and half will be an amenity area for the exclusive use of the building’s occupants.

It can be more challenging to put together leasing deals in the current economic climate, which Ahmet says makes the leasing activity at Scotia Plaza all the more noteworthy.

“Companies are investing in securing quality spaces for their people as the realization has set in that a physical presence where people can come together is critical to culture and high-performance operations,” he says.

“If you want to know the future of the office market, Scotia Plaza is an example of what works and where more buildings and landlords are headed.”


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