movement in the center

Three Montreal corporate headquarters will soon be downsized significantly.

Posted at 8:00 am

Andre Dubuc

Andre Dubuc
The press

These are Canadian National, SNC-Lavalin and Laurentian Bank. On the other hand, Saputo is relocating part of its management currently housed in the Saint-Léonard neighborhood at 1000 De La Gauchetière in central Montreal.

The information comes from the latest report by real estate agency Avison Young on the office market in Montreal.

At 455 René-Lévesque Boulevard West (Place Félix-Martin), SNC-Lavalin lays 18,000 m⁠2 (193,200 feet⁠2), an area sufficient to accommodate more than 650 workers. According to the advertising brochure from the JLL agency, the company is vacating at least eight floors: five floors are vacant today, three more will be vacant in 2023. The premises put on the market include office furniture.

“With the new reality of hybrid work and flexible working arrangements being offered to employees (2 or 3 days a week at home depending on type of work), we are moving into agile mode – unassigned space, explains Harold Fortin in an email. Senior Director, Global External Communications, SNC-Lavalin. The company is renovating its offices and building common spaces, including the Lava Lab Montreal. Numerous technically equipped meeting rooms, a new cafeteria and a self-service market. Our goal is to create a modern and friendly environment for employees. »

SNC sold its headquarters to real estate company GWL in June 2017.

Less modern offices at SNC-Lavalin headquarters

  • Preview of the new co-working offices of the SNC-Lavalin engineers


    Preview of the new co-working offices of the SNC-Lavalin engineers

  • Preview of the new co-working offices of the SNC-Lavalin engineers


    Preview of the new co-working offices of the SNC-Lavalin engineers

  • Overview of the canteen


    Overview of the canteen

  • conference room


    conference room


Another heavyweight in the business world, the Canadian National Rail Carrier, has subleased 13,185 m⁠2or 142,000 feet⁠2, spread over six floors, 935, rue De La Gauchetière Ouest. The building belongs to Cominar, which was privatized in March 2022.

“We had rooms available and decided to rent them. We’re proud to have our headquarters and decision-making center in Montreal. We do not intend to change this aspect of our business,” spokesman Jonathan Abecassis said in writing.

Finally, Laurentian Bank decided to reduce its real estate footprint by 50%. “We have embraced a home-first way of working. We no longer have to be in the office every day,” says Merick Seguin, director of media relations for the financial institution. The latter has offered five floors of its headquarters at 1360, Boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest for sublease. The affected area amounts to 10,800 m⁠2or 116,000 feet⁠2.

It has also reduced the size of its Toronto offices by a corresponding amount. In Queen City, however, Laurentian Bank quickly found prospects for its offices.

“This is not necessarily good news,” admits Jean Laurin, president and CEO of Avison Young in Montreal.

According to him, the office market continued its negative tangent in the second quarter of 2022. And the bad news could continue for another 6 to 12 months.

“There are many companies that are reviewing their occupancy strategy,” he says.

The overall office availability rate reached 17.2% in the Montreal region, which is historically high. For comparison, it is equivalent to 18 towers the size of the 1000 De La Gauchetière currently on the market.

Saputo moves to the city center

In this string of bad news for the downtown core, there is a bright spot: Cheesemaker Saputo, one of the largest dairy processors in the world, will move part of its headquarters to 1000 De La Gauchetière. The manufacturer has signed a lease for 4,000 m of office space⁠2or 43,000 feet⁠2.

In 2021, the Saputo family acquired the skyscraper together with their partners Mach and Petra-Borsa. The public company did not immediately respond to our appeal.

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