Commercial buildings must modernize to keep up with tenant requirements

1 Nicholas concept graphic
Editor's Note

This article is sponsored by District Realty.

“A blank canvas” is what commercial tenants are looking for, and Ottawa landlords, including property management corporation District Realty, are responding with significant renovations and creative upgrades.

“The average tenant is using space very differently than they were 10 to 15 years ago,” says Lindsay Hockey, a broker from Avison Young. “Tenants are looking for something open-concept. They want something that has clean lines and bright, unencumbered lighting. Essentially, they’re looking for a modern space.”

District Realty’s 1 Nicholas St. property – located at Rideau Street, on the edge of the ByWard Market and within walking distance from a light-rail station – is capitalizing on the opportunity to create a more modern environment.  

“We recognize the changing requirements of new tenants,” says Michael Morin, a commercial property manager at District Realty. “We know that our product needs to meet or exceed what others are offering, which is why we have embarked on a modernization program that is transforming the building.”

District Realty is bringing back base building conditions by installing upgrades such as LED lighting, new carpeting, a new ceiling grid and by updating older materials with new finishes. Exposing the building’s undisturbed views to Parliament Hill and the Gatineau Hills was paramount to the renovation, says Morin.

“When you walk into a space, you don’t want to feel closed in,” adds Morin. “We opened everything up so that you’re seeing windows and not walls. Everything is exposed and ready to be transformed by the client’s own design.”

While office workers across all sectors are looking for a workspace that is modern, comfortable and offers opportunities to collaborate with colleagues, Hockey says the tenant of 2020 is looking for more than just a physical space.

“It’s no longer just about the building and the office space,” he says. “Companies want to offer their employees the entire workplace experience.”

A report released by Newmark Knight Frank earlier this year supports Hockey’s analysis.

“The desire of companies to attract and retain the best and brightest employees has led office tenants to focus on amenities during their location decision-making,” the report stated.

Proximity to nice restaurants, such as the Clocktower at 1 Nicholas St., access to outdoor space, walkability to transit, secure bike storage, shower facilities and collaborative spaces, such as open board rooms, are highly sought-after amenities for the modern tenant. Facilitating access to social spaces is known to increase productivity, promoting more focused activity once an employee returns to their desk.

In this regard, District Realty’s 1 Nicholas St., in its prime downtown location, has the right amenities to attract and retain tenants.

There are currently several blocks of space available for lease inside 1 Nicholas St. Organizations that are interested in office space in the heart of downtown Ottawa can explore their options online.