$18M overhaul slated for old EDC space

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A closely watched downtown office tower is undergoing a significant interior facelift before the space is returned to the market, according to municipal records.

Daoust Construction received an $18-million construction permit last month for inside alterations to Plaza 234, a 26-storey office building at the corner of Laurier Avenue and O'Connor Street.

The 440,000-square-foot structure is the former home of Export Development Canada, which recently moved into a brand-new building a block away at the corner of Slater and O'Connor streets.

Plaza 234 is co-owned by Gillin Engineering and Cadillac Fairview, the real estate arm of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. The two parties have kept quiet about their plans for the building in recent years, even as EDC's move-out day approached.

Assuming a tenant is not already lined up, the refurbished 30-year-old building will be another addition to what is already an increasingly competitive downtown office market in Ottawa.

Morguard is pushing ahead with plans to construct a brand new 22-storey office tower at the corner of Elgin and Gloucester streets that's expected to be completed by January 2014.

Meanwhile, there is more than 193,000 square feet of vacant space within the two Sun Life Financial Centre towers, according to leasing notices.