Leasing office space in Toronto can pose a serious challenge for those ready to make the jump from working in cafes or for the small company that needs bigger digs to support a growing business. Availability isn’t really the issue. There’s plenty of office space in the city, but looking for space usually means weeding through options that don’t fit the basic criteria you’re looking for like the desire for a post and beam space, an office neighbour that does (or doesn’t) have an outdoor putting green, or easy access to indie cafes and lunch spots.
From major corporate landlords to smaller, shared workplace operations, there are many options available to those looking for an office in Toronto. We’ve already rounded up some of the top shared office spaces, but given the importance of neighbourhoods when deciding where to locate a company, we’ve broken down the options (both shared and otherwise) available in six key areas in Toronto so as to highlight what each has to offer the prospective renter.
FINANCIAL DISTRICT / SOUTH CORE
Naturally, this is the most densely populated area of the city for office space, and is home to the head offices of most of Canada’s major banks. The benefits of the area are obvious: excellent transit options, tons of nearby retail and restaurants, and the handiness of the PATH in the winter. All of these amenities will, however, cost you. The Financial District is the most most expensive area to lease office space in the city.
Types of Office Stock: Primarily mid and high rise buildings, mostly newer construction (post 1960s), class AAA, AA, A, B and C product.
Types of Companies: Dominated by banking, financial services, insurance, accounting and law firms. Home to the third largest stock exchange in North America. Examples: Big five banks, GWL, Sun Life, KPMG, PWC, etc.
Cost per sqft / Range of Gross Rent: $35 PSF to $85 PSF
Transportation options: Close connections to subway and streetcar lines as well as Union Station / GO Train services.
Full Lease Office Options/Dominant Landlords: Oxford, Brookfield, Cadillac Fairview, GWL, Bentall & Dundee.
Once a major manufacturing hub, Liberty Village was transformed in the 1980s when dot com startups set up shop in vacated warehouses and factories. The last decade has seen profound residential growth in the area in the form of a condo boom, but the west end of the neighbourhood is still home to many technology and design firms. Retail and food options have increased in lockstep with the population growth.
Types of Office Stock: Mostly large and small historic/character buildings converted to office space.
Types of Companies: Primarily technology, advertising, design and creative companies. Examples: Softchoice, Cossette Advertising, Tucows, etc.
Cost per sqft / Range of Gross Rent: $26 PSF to $45 PSF
Transportation: Located on the King streetcar line with access to Exhibition GO Station.
Shared Office Options: The Fueling Station
Full Lease Office Options/Dominant Landlords: York Heritage, Allied REIT and Lifetime Group.
FASHION / ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT
Once home to textile factories and other clothing-related manufacturing, the area along Spadina from King St. to Chinatown and along King West is home to plenty of big players in the technology and web game, as well as a host of shared office space options. Much of the office space can be found in re-purposed heritage buildings.
Types of Office Stock: Primarily large and small historic/character buildings converted to office space.
Types of Companies: Technology, advertising, and professional services. Examples: Ebay, Rogers Media, Desire2Learn, and AOL.
Cost per sqft / Range of Gross Rent: $30 PSF to $50 PSF
Transportation: Accessible by multiple streetcar lines (King, Queen, Spadina).
Full Lease Office Options/Dominant Landlords: Allied REIT, WTF Properties and Capitol Properties.
CORKTOWN / DISTILLERY DISTRICT
This area is set to witness a major spike in office space with the construction of the King East Centre (500,000 square feet of office space), which will be home to The Globe & Mail. It’s also experiencing a residential building boom, as work continues on the West Don Lands development. Although the overall demand for office space in Toronto is expected to soften over the next two years, that won’t be the case here.
Types of Office Stock: Small and medium sized historic buildings with some new construction buildings.
Types of Companies: Film, technology, professional services companies. Examples: Technicolor, Autodesk, SAS, Toronto Sun, and soon The Globe & Mail.
Cost per sqft / Range of Gross Rent: $25 PSF to $50 PSF
Transportation: King and Queen streetcar lines.
Full Lease Office Options/Dominant Landlords: Allied REIT, Dundee, Manulife and First Gulf.
YONGE & EGLINTON
Already a well-serviced neighbourhood as far as transit and retail goes, the arrival of the Crosstown LRT in the next half decade will likely make office space in the Yonge & Eglinton area even more lucrative than it is currently. Home to a concentration of mid-sized office buildings, the area houses a diverse array of companies, most of which are well established.
Types of Office Stock: Primarily medium sized office buildings built between 1950s & 1970s.
Types of Companies: Professional services, insurance & technology companies. Examples: CGA, Facebook, Maritime Life, Heart and Stroke Foundation, and Ontario Energy Board.
Cost per sqft / Range of Gross Rent: $30 PSF to $45 PSF
Transportation: Accessible by subway and bust (with LRT on the way).
Indie coffee shops: De Mello Palheta
Full Lease Office Options/Dominant Landlords: RioCan, Davpart, Adgar Investments and Madison Properties.
BLOOR / YORKVILLE
Although not as densely populated as the Financial District, Yonge & Bloor remains one of the prime destinations for large companies to take space based on transit accessibility, the sheer amount of office stock, and the plentiful amenities in the area. It’s also cheaper than the Financial District, but doesn’t give much away in terms of conveniences.
Types of Office Stock: Mixture of large and medium office buildings.
Types of Companies: Professional services, advertising and technology companies. Examples: Canon, JWT Canada, Shaw Communication, Alliance Atlantis, Citco, and Unilever.
Cost per sqft / Range of Gross Rent: $30 PSF to $50 PSF
Transportation: Ideal transit accessibility at the junction of two subway lines.
Full Lease Office Options/Dominant Landlords: Morguard, Brookfield, Oxford and CREIT