Flexible workspace provider Spaces will celebrate a Canadian first when it opens two co-working sites at the Zibi development in Ottawa and Gatineau. The sites, comprising a total of 55,000 square feet, will be just across the provincial border from each other.
In Gatineau, the work areas will be connected by a second-storey walkway.
“We are always looking to build in the most strategic developments and best-in-class buildings around the world,” Wayne Berger, the CEO of Spaces owner IWG Canada and Latin America, told RENX in an email.
“For example, we just opened a Spaces co-working location in the Chrysler Building in New York and will be opening a Spaces at 400 West Georgia Street in Vancouver — the building inspired by the cube lamp design of 20th century Japanese artist Isamu Noguchi.”
Having adjacent Spaces locations just metres from each other across a provincial border is a first for the company.
“We’re opening two vibrant workspaces in a dual-language, dual-province development all within walking distance of each other,” Berger said. “There’s really nothing quite like this one in the rest of the world and we are proud to do this here in Canada.”
Spaces plans to open the Gatineau workspace in mid 2020 and the Ottawa workspace a few months later. They will be the second and third Ottawa locations, following 66 Slater Street which is to open early in the new year.
The two new locations would accommodate about 600 people, potentially creating significant daily foot traffic for the mixed-use Zibi site.
Spaces Zibi Gatineau and Ottawa
A couple of key factors make Ottawa attractive to Spaces. With 9.9 per cent of all jobs in Ottawa being tech-related, the city has Canada’s highest per capita concentration of tech talent – and is second in N. America to San Francisco, according to CBRE. It accounts for 26 firms on the Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s fastest-growing companies for 2019.
Ottawa’s office vacancy is also at an eight-year low, 6.7 per cent in the downtown business district.
The new Spaces Zibi Gatineau will offer 29,000 square feet of flexible workspace. Housed in converted turn-of-the-century industrial buildings, it will feature rehabilitated and repurposed retail and office spaces – including design elements that honour the site’s history.
Located east of Eddy Street, and west of Place de l’Île Philemon, the offices are separated by a four-season atrium and connected by a second-storey pedestrian bridge.
Spaces Zibi Ottawa will bring 26,000 square feet of space to the city’s riverfront just west of the CBD and Parliamentary Precinct. The workspace will be in a revitalized four-storey former paper mill on Chaudière Island on Booth Street.
To maintain the building’s industrial appeal, the existing south and east walls, as well as their first structural bays, will be retained. The Spaces offices will open onto the new Head Street Square, a public space designed to celebrate the industrial heritage of the site. The offices will be constructed to the highest zero-carbon and green building standards for materials, water, energy and indoor air quality.
“It wasn’t a coincidence, it was our strategy,” to open dual locations, Berger explained. “We believe in the vision of Zibi and value Dream’s approach to developing an area that went untouched for 50 years, connecting Ottawa and Gatineau together. Zibi has a vision to showcase the sharing economy, with co-living buildings, co-working spaces, bicycle and car sharing.
“The need for agile and flexible workspace only continues to grow in Gatineau and Ottawa, another reason why we are opening in both locations.”
The Zibi development
Zibi is Canada’s only One Planet Living sustainable community, and the region’s largest urban redevelopment. The site includes 34 acres of master-planned riverfront commercial, leisure and residential space in the downtowns of both Ottawa and Gatineau.
It is being developed by Dream Unlimited Corp. and Theia Partners. Zibi will be home to 5,000 people, over 6,000 jobs, eight acres of riverfront parks and plazas, with over a million square feet of commercial and retail space.
“We had a variety of potential tenants come to the table for these beautiful spaces, but in the end we wanted to partner with a best-in-class organization whose vision and ability to deliver unique and appealing environments matched our own for these key locations. Spaces does just that,” said Gordon Wadley, Dream’s senior VP of commercial properties, in an email to RENX. “Spaces also does a tremendous job building creative environments where people want to work and be productive. It also supports entrepreneurism.”
Zibi is already home to two mid-rise condo buildings. A mid-rise office tower of almost 200,000 square feet is under construction and will be occupied by a federal government agency. Two brick-and-beam buildings undergoing extensive renovations will house office and retail space, and work is ongoing on several public squares and spaces. Zibi will also be home to a Common co-living building.
“Partnering with organizations like Common for co-living and Spaces for co-working enables us to bring to life our One Planet values of happiness and sustainability while offering what people have told us they want – connection with one another while leaving as small an environmental footprint as possible,” Wadley said. “And yes, you can definitely assume there will be more of these types of leading-edge businesses and concepts at Zibi.”
Spaces is an operating brand of Luxenbourg-based IWG plc: the holding group for a number of major workspace providers. Other brands in the IWG portfolio include Regus, Signature by Regus, HQ and No18.
Spaces has 187 locations in 54 countries.
The workspace pioneer expanded into Canada in the fall of 2017 with its first location in Toronto. It continues to expand rapidly in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated to clarify the exact locations of the Gatineau and Ottawa Spaces, and their relationship to each other. The second-storey bridge connects two sections of the Gatineau Spaces location.