East Harbour - Creating Space For 50,000 Future Jobs In Torontos East End

Posted by Paul Ambler on Thursday, June 6th, 2019 at 1:16pm.

Toronto has a problem. A good one! The city cannot build office towers fast enough to keep up with the rapidly growing & concentrated job market downtown. As Ontario's manufacturing sector shrinks, tech jobs are flocking to Toronto. So much so, that in 2017, Toronto had the fasted growing tech job market in North America, surpassing the San Francisco Bay Area & Washington DC combined. This trend has no intention of slowing as Google plans to build its new Canadian Headquarters on Toronto's eastern waterfront. A few other notable moves by large companies; 

– Shopify will set up in a new 38-storey tower at The Well, which Allied Properties REIT and RioCan REIT are developing at Front Street and Spadina Avenue (Shopify has taken 253,000 square feet with an option on another 181,000).

– Microsoft, which is moving in 2020 from the airport area, taking 132,000 square feet at Ivanhoé’s CIBC Square.

– Amazon has taken 113,000 square feet in Scotia Plaza (a building that will eventually lose many of its Bank of Nova Scotia employees to Brookfield’s Bay Adelaide North tower, where construction is set to start this spring).


As the need for office space has ballooned, so to has the urgency to address the available or un-used space around the downtown core and east end. East Harbour is situated on 60 acres of land and is the largest commercial development in Canada. It will house 10 million square feet of office space concentrated around the new transit hub, which will be the second largest transit hub in Canada after Union Station. The plan will completely re-face the area's industrial history (soap factory, bread factory etc) and will create an urban mix of office and retail sites, cultural and public spaces, entertainment, parks and restaurants, all threaded within a highly walk-able, bike-able environment. Sticking with the Live, Work & Play theme that modern developments have incorporated, the East Harbour development will breathe new life into some already diverse and popular neighbourhoods like Riverside & Lesliville which have also gone through changes and growth over the last number of years. 

Transit is one of the key aspects of this project and the redesign and the cities new smart track plan will play a significant role. Regional Express Rail, SmartTrack, Broadview LRT, Queen’s Quay LRT and the Relief Line subway will all converge at the East Harbour station which will also be connected to a PATH system underground. 

In 2019, work is expected to begin at the Unilever Soap Factory (the first East Harbour Development) which will incorporate 600,000 sqft of office building space and 45,000 sqft of retail space. The building is not designated as heritage but the developer has approached the building as such and intends to maintain the look and feel of the building while taking advantage of the space it offers. If the architectural pictures are any indication this whole East Harbour development looks sharp and is just what the cities east end needs to address what most consider a "no-mans" land of space that has sat idle for too long. Residential investment opportunities will no doubt grow as people who work in this new area look to live closer to work. There are already some extensive condo/loft projects in the pipeline and residents of some of these east end communities should expect to see some positive changes in property values as access to employment & transit arrive next door!

Contact me for more details on some of the proposed developments in the area! 


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