Feds to fill long-empty space in EDC tower in downtown Ottawa

The federal government is set to expand its downtown footprint after subleasing long-vacant space in the head office of the Export Development Corp.

Public Services and Procurement Canada has signed a 10-year lease to rent more than 37,000 square feet of space on two floors at EDC headquarters at 150 Slater St. Under the deal, which runs from August of this year to July 31, 2027, the federal department will lease all of the seventh floor and part of the sixth floor to augment its main office on Laurier Avenue.

The space has been vacant since the 18-story office tower was completed in 2011.

A joint venture between Broccolini Construction and the Canderel Group of Companies, the 479,000-square-foot building at the corner of Slater and O’Connor streets was the largest new office development in downtown Ottawa in a quarter-century when construction began in 2009.

Manulife Financial acquired the LEED gold-certified tower from Broccolini and Canderel at the end of 2011. EDC has a long-term lease on the entire building that extends until 2031, and the empty real estate on the sixth and seventh floors was originally left open to accommodate more staff as the Crown corporation expanded its workforce.

EDC’s headcount has now “stabilized” at just under 1,300 employees, according to spokesperson Shelley Maclean, and the agency decided to sublease the unused portions of the building.

A pair of high-profile construction firms, PCL Constructors and EllisDon, will work together to tailor the space, which is currently a bare shell, to fit the new tenant’s needs. PSPC spokesperson Nicolas Boucher said the number of employees who will work there will depend on the final design.