The Office Industry is Changing

Office Industry

Okay, so when is the office industry not changing? This may be a general statement in the world of ever-growing technology and real estate pricing. But, the business centre in a conventional sense is becoming very hard to define.

What is your work environment like? Are you a start up or do you have 40 employees? Do you primarily work at the same desk or find yourself always on the go?
In the past, there have been clear cut destinations that business owners have found themselves drawn to, based on a multitude of criteria. For example, finance companies worked in structured environments with rows of cubicles surrounded by water coolers; graphic designers worked at large communal tables in brick and beam buildings that formerly hosted industrial assembly lines.

They didn’t mix.

But what if these companies could find themselves rubbing shoulders with each other? Could a world filled with both left and right brain thinkers possibly get along together?

The shared office space industry certainly thinks so, and companies are beginning to prove them right.

With industry giants such as Regus & WeWork competing at either ends of the shared office space spectrum, we find numerous office providers who are starting to position themselves somewhere in between – with no clear cut definition of their target market.

A once relatively unknown industry is now being considered by multibillion dollar per-year companies, as it presents a cost-cutting method to operate their businesses with a strict fiscal bottom line in mind.

Once considered feared competitors to be reckoned with, the global recognition and media attention that these industry giants are garnering actually benefits the smaller shared office space providers.

How, you ask, can small businesses benefit from the ever growing giants within an industry?

I pose this question to you – have you ever had a pizza from Domino’s? You know the price, the quality, the speed of delivery, the shape, size, and consistency, but you’re never wowed by the end result. It is a quick alternative that hides itself behind flashy marketing and a cell phone app. They don’t know you, the customer. They don’t know the specifics of your order (unless you tell them, time after time). They are a generic food factory servicing the masses, without the ability to cater to each of their clients’ immediate needs specifically.

Now, have you ever eaten at your local pizzeria, owned and operated by a family in your very own neighbourhood? These are the same people that know you by name, face and voice. They know that you live on the same street and know that you don’t like too many black olives. They may even be charitable enough to sponsor your child’s soccer team, or better yet, allow you to pay them back next time when you find you’re short on cash. At the end of the day, they’re friends.

The point, very simply, is that people like to pay for a service that is specific to their likes, wants and needs. Sometimes choosing the largest company in the industry is not the best way to proceed.
This is where privately owned business centres secure their slice within the industry (pun absolutely intended). It is very common to have business owners move to these smaller outfits after stints with large corporations. They do this because they are unhappy with the giant’s inability to cater their services to the specific requirements of each company’s business practice.

So, I challenge you to consider all elements of this ever-changing industry when selecting your next office space provider. Whether you’re a financial giant or a start up app developer, why go with Domino’s when you can choose an experience that is fundamentally yours?

Like they say, you never know who you’re going to meet.

Click here for more information about available Office Space at The Rostie Group.

PATH Coming Soon!

Bridge to Path        Bridge to Path2

 

The new RBC WaterPark Place Tower is almost complete and we are delighted to see the progress. Along with the new RBC WaterPark Place, our building will be connected to the PATH. Walking through the neighbourhood, we saw the bridge to the PATH and can see it is almost ready. We are very excited to be connected to Union station and all the amenities of the PATH.

 

Here is a video of the proposed building:

 

The countdown for the Pan Am Games begins with a gift from Cisco

Over the weekend, a festival was held to give residents a taste of what is to come for the Pan Am Games next year. The festival kicked off the one year wait to the big games. The celebration started on Friday morning with the unveiling of a countdown clock and speeches by several dignitaries. Cisco was kind enough to unveil a beautiful clock that they created just for the countdown to the games. The clock has many interesting features and many new features will be unveiled between now and the start of the games. To find out more about the clock, please read Toronto Star’s article here.

 

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Sneak Peek: RBC’s New South Core Tower

We received this great article in a newsletter from BisNow (www.bisnow.com) and we had to share it!. To view the full newsletter or to subscribe to the BisNow list, please click here.

 

What led Oxford Properties VP John Peets to call WaterPark Place III Toronto’s “smartest” building? We brought our camera and some pub trivia questions to test it out.

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John took us on a hard-hat tour of the 31-storey, 900k SF tower in Toronto’s burgeoning South Core, slated to open Sept. 5. The third phase of a 1.7M SF, three-tower commercial complex at Bay Street and Queens Quay Boulevard, WaterPark Place III will be Royal Bank of Canada’s retail banking HQ. It will also house Cisco Canada’s 100k SF head office and an innovation centre showcasing the company’s latest technology, while Canada Newswire will occupy the 30th floor. The building is already 81% leased.

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Designed to achieve LEED Platinum, WaterPark Place III has an array of green features: Fritted glass fins on the facade (pictured) deflect sunlight; green roofs reduce the heat island effect; and recycled greywater is used for irrigation. The building is equipped to take in 30% more fresh air than the ASHRAE standard, and there are 350 bike-park stalls—vs 450 car stalls—with showers and change rooms.

 

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RBC decided to move to WaterPark Place III largely because it will be connected to the downtown PATH system (above is where the opening will be). The tower will have an above-ground link to Air Canada Centre and Union Station via an elevated, covered walkway that will run under the Gardiner Expressway through a new condo complex being built across the road.

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The building will have 50k SF of retail, a big boost for the South Core, which has had little by way of shops and services. In addition to the 12 vendors located in the glass-ceiling food court (pictured—if you ordered some food, it may be a little while til it’s ready), there will be a Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Rexall pharmacy, medical/dental office, fitness centre, and 25k SF auditorium for RBC. John tells us there will also be a high-end sushi restaurant, as well as an outdoor patio.
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The office floors—26k SF on average—are open, flexible, and designed to accommodate high densities. Cisco technology powers the operating systems. Each light has its own IP address, so when a tenant swipes a parking pass, it alerts his or her workspace of the arrival and sets the lighting to their preference. (Same for temperature.) Each floor will be separately metered for power, so tenants can monitor consumption. “It’s the most advanced building we’ve done in Toronto,” says Paul Hickey, left, of EllisDon, the project’s GC (here with superintendent Brian Blackman).

A Millennial’s Perspective: The future of Toronto

By Spencer Anderson (Student at Royal St. George’s College)

Future Skyline of Toronto

The outcome of two crux issues will affect Toronto’s immediate (12 year) future the most; changes to the city’s waterfront due to the PanAm Games of 2015 and the World Expo of 2025, and the continuation in the massive swing of demographics from the GTA to Toronto proper. Toronto is slated to experience an unprecedented level of population and economic growth in the next decade, but amidst fears of unsustainability, the city already famous for its inferiority complex is even more frantic. As the main focus of growth will be in the city’s vibrant and booming downtown, it will be examined as a whole. Predictions for downtown are generally positive, because economic and demographic growth are normally good things. However; Toronto’s Waterfront neighbourhood, itself a microcosm of downtown’s growth, will likely face some serious challenges, because the demographic increase is set to outstrip the carrying capacities of transit network, amongst a bevy of other issues. Downtown’s trends are visible in the Waterfront, and, as such, the trends will be examined first in order to get a better sense of the more focused issues affecting the Waterfront.

Toronto’s population has seen a recent change in regional density. After decades of sustained development in the GTA and the “inner suburbs” (Scarborough and Etobicoke), driven by the post-war Baby Boomer Generation (O’Toole), Toronto’s downtown is now experiencing a significant resident upsurge. Why? Because the Echo Generations, those born after the Baby Boomers, have been flocking to new downtown condominium developments in waves, citing reasons such as better access to transit, and proximity to the workplace. Downtown Toronto saw 16.2% population growth from 2006-2011 (Toronto Star), and since then, has had no signs of stopping. This was the first five-year period since the Second World War that Toronto has seen urban growth surpassing suburban and inner-suburban growth. Quite possibly the greatest reason for this upsurge in downtown development and population has very little to do with convenience, and has very much to do with money. Employment numbers have increased by nearly 15% in the same period (O’Toole), and this isn’t just the driving force behind inter-region migration- more than one in twelve new Torontonians in 2012 came from outside Canada. Studies by BMO and CIBC both indicate that Downtown Toronto’s growth in housing and population is sustainable, and that the long-expected “Condo market bubble burst” will not, in the next twenty years, happen (Perkins). If Downtown Toronto continues to see these levels of growth over the next 12 years, the whole city will look much different. Toronto’s urban population is currently about 280,000, in 2026; it will be close to 400,000, an increase of slightly less than 40% (Perkins). What will Toronto look like then? It is possible that Toronto’s notorious political imbalance between suburban and urban populations will stabilize, and that the city may grow to have an organized and focused government, but for a visual representation of 2026 Toronto, refer to figure 1.  This remarkable projection includes a majority of Toronto’s already under-construction and proposed high-rises, and was created by Scott Dickson, from a local marketing and design firm. Toronto in 2026 looks something out of the space age- or at least Hong Kong. Denser, yes, but certainly not inferior to the city that we have in 2014 (O’Toole). The increase in Toronto’s density will also likely result in a more environmentally friendly city, as less people will need to use cars to commute to work. Savings are also monetary in a situation with reduced numbers of commuters; Toronto’s high congestion cost the city’s economy more than $11 Billion in 2013 (Toronto Star). The city’s downtown is the focus of development in Toronto, but within downtown there’s one area that stands out amongst the others in terms of sheer quantity of development- The Waterfront.

By the year 2026, the most drastically changed neighbourhood in Toronto will be the Waterfront (of course, barring natural disasters and/or alien invasions). This area along the shore of Lake Ontario, spanning from the base of the Don Valley to Dufferin Street, has more skyscrapers under construction or proposed than anywhere else in the city, along with several large infrastructure projects. Most of these new skyscrapers are residential, and with the influx of people, inevitably, comes growing pains. Even with the under-construction improvement to the 509 Streetcar line, transit capabilities will be stretched for years to come, as the 55,000 plus riders reported on this line in 2012 and higher numbers for 2013 can testify (Moloney). The upcoming 2015 PanAm Games are largely responsible for the attempts to rectify these issues, as more than $215 Million dollars of infrastructure funding is being pumped into the city, with the majority of the projects being located in the Waterfront (Toronto Star). Transit and local road infrastructure is important for any neighbourhood, but that will not be the deciding issue on the future of the Waterfront- but the Gardiner Expressway will be (Billings). The Gardiner separates the Waterfront from the rest of the city of Toronto, and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, it takes up large swathes of valuable land. The Gardiner’s (figure 2) benefits as an expressway could be addressed by reconfiguring two or three other streets (Billings). Just repairing the expressway enough so that it is not a safety threat is expected to cost $627 million, and it has been delayed so that it will not be finished until 2027 (Billings). It is ludicrous to consistently invest in patchwork repairs, when it would be cheaper to remove the problem entirely, but that’s the logic of Toronto’s current government- disjointed and inefficient. (Billings)

So, Toronto in 2026 is measurably different; a radically changed downtown with almost half again as many people, a possible Waterfront without the Gardiner running through it, expanded transit to serve new residents of downtown, and two major international events in the past decade. While Toronto is a constantly changing city, it is not a young city by most standards, and it changes more slowly than many others. Yes, Toronto will be extremely different, but not unrecognizably so.

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Works Cited

Billings, Jason, Norman W. Garrick, and Nicholas E. Lownes. “Changes in Travel Patterns due to Freeway Teardown for Three North American Case Studies.” Urban Design International (2013): 165-81.

Moloney, Paul. Gardiner Expressway repairs cost rises by $19M — and another year of traffic pain . 10 04 2013. 22 05 2014 http://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2013/04/10/gardiner_expressway_repairs_to_cost_more_and_take_longer.html.

O’Toole, Megan. Downtown Toronto’s pace of population growth triples, outpacing suburbs’ as Echo Boomers flock towards urban centre: report . 22 01 2013. 20 05 2014 http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/01/22/downtown-torontos-pace-of-population-growth-triples-outpacing-suburbs-as-echo-boomers-flock-towards-urban-centre-report/.

Perkins, Tara. Too many condos? Canada’s housing growth ‘sustainable’: BMO. 09 05 2014. 22 05 2014 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/housing/too-many-condos-canadas-housing-growth-sustainable-bmo/article18579796/.

Toronto Star. Density Toronto: As GTA population rises, so do expectations for denser living. 19 10 2012. 22 05 2014 http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2012/10/19/density_toronto_as_gta_population_rises_so_do_expectations_for_denser_living.html 

Photo: http://www.searchingtoronto.com/pictures/plog-content/images/toronto-images/toronto-skyline/torontoskyline2-from-plane.jpg

 

Keep your office space in Toronto organized with these 25 tips

25 Tips to keep your office organized and running smoothly by Janet Taylor 

1) Clean out each desk drawer, to free up even more valuable storage space.

2) Clear off the top of your desk, then wipe off the surface of the desktop.

3) Keep essential items on your desktop (computer, phone, fax, card file).

4) If you work with more than one person create an in box for each person.

5) Have a master to-do list for each day at your desk.

6) Pre-Sort the mail.  To-File, To-Read, To-Contact(write or call).

7) Use a variety of containers to organize office supplies, paper clips and pens.

8) Use a variety of desktop organizers or trays to organize papers that come across your desk.

9) Create a separate drawer for personal paperwork, items, etc.

10) Use storage boxes to store dated files.

11) Purchase Magazine boxes to store booklets, magazines, catalogs you want to keep.

12) Create a file for magazine articles or scan them into your computer.

13) Filing system should be simple easy and manageable.

14) Color-coding your files makes it faster to find information.

15) Do not over stuff folders.  It may be time to toss some of the information in the folder .

16) Never overload filing drawer.  It will make it difficult to retrieve information in the drawers.

17) Sub-divide larger files with interior file folders.

18) Tab hanging file folders in the front.

19) Return calls in batches.  Leave specific messages and the time you called if the person you’re trying to reach isn’t available.

20) Empty workspace of everything but the project you’re working on to cut down on distractions.

21) Keep an assortment of all-occasion cards and stamps in your desk.

22) Keep takeout menus from favorite restaurants so you can  order ahead and pick up dinner on your way home.

23) When using more than one checking account, color coded checks are an easy way to identify each account.

24) At the end of each project or event, organize paperwork and file or store it.

25) Straighten desk at the end of the day and especially at the end of the week so that you can start each morning with a clear desk

 

Originally posted here…

Dutch perspective on Toronto’s Future, Urban planning, and Design

Toronto Meeting about Urban Planning and Design

With the new RBC WaterPark Place  office tower being built, waterfront redevelopment, and all the construction in Toronto’s South Core,  our CEO, Cynthia Rostie, sent us on a mission to learn more about urban planning in Toronto. Housing several start-ups and taking pride in our innovative clients, Cynthia felt it would a great opportunity for us to also see a full blown innovation centre in action.  Abigail Bristow and Samantha Flores would like to thank MARs Discovery District Centre for hosting a meeting on the “Dutch perspective on Toronto’s future, Urban planning Design”, which they attended on May 7, 2014.

The event provided excellent insight into what Toronto could be in about 30 years time. The evening consisted of an engaging dialog between Maarten Hajer, the head of the Dutch National Institute for Strategic Policy Analysis, Jennifer Keesmaat, the chief planner of Toronto and Daan Roosegaarde, a social designer.

Key objectives that came from the meeting:

– Digital Urbanism – Pilot projects vs Long term infrastructure (build to last? OR build to send a message?)

– A city’s transition plan to succeed; make sure we consider what makes the city work with high numbers (ie: more parks and community housing)

– Technology is at the forefront of Urban planning

– Use construction to advertise your city’s environments and sustainability of walking.

The event was hosted by MaRS Discovery District, feel free to visit http://www.marsdd.com to learn more about them.