Allied Properties and RioCan are proceeding with the planned King-Portland Centre thanks to Shopify moving in as its main tenant.
Shopify will lease about 112,000 square feet, or 44 per cent of the space, which will be located at 602-620 King Street West. The space is due to open sometime in 2019, and will contain a mix of both office and rented residential properties.
Shopify currently has a Toronto office at 80 Spadina Ave, and in the meantime, will also move into a space on Wellington Street to accommodate its growing team. Shopify’s Toronto team will work out of both locations before the King-Portland Centre opens. “We’re at 150 employees in current space in Toronto,” said Greg Scorsone, director of internal operations at Shopify. Scorsone is responsible for Shopify’s real estate strategy, IT teams, and culinary teams within the company. “Shopify in general prefers the downtown core area. It’s where the majority of our employees live, it’s where all the interesting things are. We’re encouraging young, vibrant people to apply, and that’s where they want to live.”
While the company tries to emulate the spirit of each office’s surrounding city, it also has consistent features in each location.
Scorsone visited a “significant” number of spaces across Toronto — including closer to the downtown core and the Junction — before the opportunity to work with Allied as an anchor tenant came up. “They’re accommodating in terms of what we want to do with the building, talking to us before they actually go through with it to get the things that we need,” said Scorsone, adding that the many tech companies in the King-Spadina area make the location attractive.
For Shopify, the ability to take the lead on how this space, which will house a maximum of 600 or 700 employees, was important to maintain the culture that’s known for. While the company tries to emulate the spirit of each office’s surrounding city, it also has consistent features in each location. Its offices include a ‘pod environment’ where teams of 15-20 people can gather, while at the same time including small spaces where people can be alone. “We specifically design sites to accommodate introverts and extroverts, that’s a big deal within Shopify so they’re not excluding anyone,” said Scorsone.
Its offices also often include internal stairwells to encourage interconnectivity between teams and food service for employees. “We had to ensure that this was all okay, as well as growth within the building — it’s a big building so we’ll be able to expand if we grow out of the space,” Scorsone said.