The Espaces et cie platform is the proposed solution to avoid increasing the vacancy rate in downtown. (Photo: Samuel Charron for Unsplash)
As workers return to downtown, the number of available and unused square feet is still increasing, and the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal wants to change things using the Espaces et cie platform.
In fact, in the study “Office space in downtown Montreal” conducted by the firm IdéesFX, the results of which were published on April 22, 2022, CCMM examined that the factors associated with the pandemic “may cause a significant increase in the rate of availability of office space ”.
Within three years, especially in category B and C buildings-less prestigious and less served by public transport, and therefore less attractive for employees-that this increase should be more big. The availability rate should reach 26% and 30% during this period. That, since the pandemic began, vacancy rates there have doubled.
However, even though they are less popular at the moment, they fill a need, warns Michel Leblanc, president of CCMM, who warns about a major shift in these residential or commercial office spaces.
Downtown: employers, you must mobilize, says CCMM
In fact, according to their study, one in five moving businesses that are not yet downtown will consider moving there.
Therefore, it is an opportunity, Michel Leblanc believes, to weave “networks between current tenants” and complementary organizations that still do not have pied-à-terre in the heart of Montreal, and that will serve as its non-transaction and free platform Espaces et cie.
This “dating agency” will connect tenants or landlords with available space to those seeking a new lease.
So CCMM hopes to “make the market more fluid so that the available space can be filled as soon as possible”, revitalize the city center and attract businesses that have not been built there before. So it can be “a bit less corporate and a bit more‘ running shoes ’”, Michel Leblanc describes.
A more suitable offer
These companies, such as those in the technology sector or start-ups for example, have until now shunned the city center because costs are higher there, or because it is “old-fashioned for new workers, which is more like Mile-Ex “.
This is no longer entirely true today, the CCMM president pointed out, because glamorous techno companies like Google have set up there-simultaneously bringing back talent-and because these networks that resulting from Espaces and cie can reduce the charge.
The platform should attract three types of organizations, Michel Leblanc believes: those criticized by their employees for being difficult to access by public transport, those that grow but need only a few offices and a conference room for example, or even the company that wants to conduct a pilot project.
“For a very long time, businesses in the regions have been wondering if it would benefit from having a pied-à-terre business development in downtown Montreal, and therefore don’t want a five-year lease and multiple offices. “
In addition to filling in vacant space, the platform aims to build synergies between “large tenants” from all city center service sectors and small start-ups.
Banking institutions in particular let them know that they are willing to accept other organizations on their unused square feet if they come from fintech, for example.
“Intention changes, before it’s gone […] these are the companies themselves that want to create mini-hubs, ”Michel Leblanc underlined.