Downtown Montreal | Top office manager transforms the clock tower

Pandemic or not, Allied Property continues the ambitious transformation of the former Bell building downtown into a contemporary workspace.

Posted at 7:00 am

Andre Dubuc

Andre Dubuc
The press

“Our goal is to create an environment that improves organizations’ ability to attract, motivate and retain the super-talented men and women who have advanced their businesses,” said CEO Michael Emory when he spoke on Thursday afternoon before the Canadian Club spoke from Montréal.

The Toronto-based company is the largest office manager in Montreal with nearly 650,000 sqm2 invests at least 80 million in the renovation of the tower, which was called 700 De la Gauchetière and is now called 1001 Robert-Bourassa.

“One of the most important aspects of this project is its location in a high-amenity, mixed-use neighborhood,” said the company director.

Montreal is full of mixed-use, service-rich neighborhoods. This is the main reason why it works. We then have to transform the building, but having a presence in those neighborhoods is really the foundation of success.

Michael Emory, CEO of Allied Property

Allied paid $322.5 million for the property in 2019. At the time it was 96% leased, with Hydro-Quebec and National Bank (BN) as the primary tenants. The BN has to go as soon as their central office is delivered.

The tower was built for Bell Canada in 1983 and is almost 100,000 m2has a floor area of ​​3500 m2 and ceiling heights of 3 to 4 m. The tower also offers almost 700 underground parking spaces.

Release natural light

Allied tackled the ground floor as the first construction site. “The ground floor in its original form repelled people rather than attracted them,” regretted Mr Emory. Once inside the building, people were drowned in a solid, colorless surface and dragged into dead ends, effectively negatively affecting their perception even before they got to their jobs, which is pretty much the worst thing imaginable.

“We have redesigned the ground floor of the building and now created a large open space that is contrasting and welcoming.

“The intention is to make arrival, work, breaks, meetings and departures easier for workers in a stimulating way. »

The ultimate intent is to enhance inmate engagement, not limit it. The number of entrances has been reduced, dead ends have been eliminated and the various meeting areas have been better delimited.

Michael Emory, CEO of Allied Property

In particular, the company works with Moment Factory.

Photo Martin Chamberland, Archives La Presse

1001 Robert Bourassa

Allied will now attack floors. “The building’s original workspace was compromised by low ceilings, heavy partitions, trapping of natural light, and overlapping structures. In many ways the beauty of the base building had been hidden. We completely redesigned the floor, removed the false ceilings, released natural light and revealed a truly magnificent steel structure. »

The pandemic: a pause

At a time when the office’s outlook is bleak and availability is expected to increase in the years to come, Mr. Emory is keeping the course like a captain by storm.

“Our Canadian cities are sustainable first and foremost because they enrich people’s lives in ways no other form of human organization can,” he told his audience. They experienced a hiatus during the pandemic. But they are evolving and intensifying at an unprecedented rate.

“People will continue to do what they did before the pandemic, rather than fundamentally changing their lifestyle, which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, especially given the history. »

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