Public Works says it is considering leasing 75,000 square feet of office space in the downtown core in September 2013.
The occupancy date likely excludes Morguard's new office tower, Performance Court, which is currently under construction at the corner of Elgin and Gloucester streets. That building is expected to be completed in early 2014.
Furthermore, the space must be available for the federal government to begin its fit-ups at least 52 weeks prior to occupancy, according to a request for information published on the online procurement site Merx.
RFIs are frequently used to take stock of the market prior to a formal solicitation. However, there is no guarantee the government will proceed to a full request for proposals.
The Merx notice says the space requirement could be fulfilled in one or two buildings in the area bounded by Wellington Street, Laurier Avenue, Elgin Street and Lyon Street. The government says the leases will extend for five years with three options for one-year extensions.
Vacancy rates in the downtown core have climbed over the past year, reaching 6.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, according to statistics compiled by Cushman & Wakefield Ottawa.
However, those figures don't include the approximately 337,000 square feet of space inside the former headquarters of Export Development Canada at 234 Laurier Ave. W.
The property's owners - Gillin Engineering and Cadillac Fairview - are spending at least $18 million on renovating the 29-year-old building, according to municipal records, but have said little about their plans.