Bank of Canada lease expected by year’s end

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A Crown corporation and government department could lease more than 370,000 square feet of downtown office space before the end of the year, according to brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield Ottawa.

The Bank of Canada and the Department of Justice - which is said to occupy about 80,000 square feet in the central bank's complex - will both need to relocate their operations as the government-owned building on Wellington Street undergoes renovations.

A Bank of Canada spokesperson told OBJ in February that major components of the 35-year-old-building's infrastructure had either reached, or were reaching, the end of their life cycle and required renewal.

Last November, brokerage firm CB Richard Ellis published a request for information on the availability of between 275,000 and 300,000 square feet in central Ottawa or Gatineau for an unnamed client, which was widely believed to be the Bank of Canada.

The published notice said it required the space be available by July 1, 2013, for a five-year term.

One likely contender for the Bank of Canada tenancy is the old Export Development Canada building at 234 Laurier Ave. W., which is currently undergoing extensive renovations.

There would be no change to vacancy or absorption statistics on paper for the downtown office market if the Bank of Canada moved into 234 Laurier Ave., as the building is not currently being advertised as available space.

In its latest office market report, Cushman & Wakefield said the downtown vacancy rate declined 10 basis points in the second quarter to 6.2 per cent. The citywide office vacancy rate declined 20 basis points to 7.2 per cent.