The Elephant in the Room…….The Toronto Tech Boom
I honestly cannot believe more people are not talking about this. There is so much business and commercial space coming to the city it is unpresented. Yet no one is talking about it.
Here’s some facts.
In the next 2-5 years we are going to see an influx of business that this city has not seen before. In 2017 Toronto added more Tech jobs than any other city in North America.
Toronto has been climbing the international ranks in terms of tech talent and has created more jobs in the industry in the last year than Seattle, New York City and the Bay Area combined.
University of Toronto opened the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence and entered into an AI research partnership with LG earlier this year.
Bet you want to know who’s coming, right? Let me tell you.
Shopify is expanding like crazy. At the end of September they signed a deal with Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust and landlord RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust. Shopify will become an anchor tenant in The Well project, a 7.8-acre (3.2 hectare) mixed-use development on Front St. near Spadina Ave.
Shopify’s total workforce has exploded to more than 3,000 and the company is investing up to $500 million in its Toronto operations. Shopify also expects to continue its hiring growth after 2022 when it will move into offices at The Well.
Before that, they have already secured massive space at the Kingly project on King and Portland. They will take 158,000 square feet of the building. It is very exciting that they are looking to expand here and cannot wait to see what they continue to do.
Uber has announced plans to join the party. The ride-hailing app is investing $200 million over five years in a new software-engineering facility in Toronto. Uber will have more than 500 staff in the city, who will work on the back end systems that run its apps. The company also plans to expand a research centre for self-driving cars that it opened here last year.
Although I have mixed feeling about Uber their plans of expansion here in the city are really exciting. I can’t wait for self-driving cars!
Early September Microsoft announced a massive investment/expansion plan for Toronto as well as Montreal.
They plan on opening a state-of-the-art new headquarters located in the heart of downtown Toronto. They plan on a move-in date of Sept 2020. They will be located at 81 Bay Street and that is just one of a series of significant investments Microsoft is making.
Microsoft plans on expanding its Canadian operations, increasing staff, modernizing its real estate and growing its research lab in Montreal that is focused on artificial intelligence.
The investment into their new headquarters will bring over 60,000 jobs.
Ya. Take that in.
Their president has this to say about their plans, "Increasingly, Canada is being recognized as a global leader in technology and the investments we are making today and into the future will help ensure Canada continues to be a hotbed of innovation," said Microsoft Canada President Kevin Peesker. "By relocating our headquarters to downtown Toronto, we will be able to better serve our customers and attract top talent to continue to drive innovation and growth for our Canadian customers and our large partner ecosystem."
Google has already made significant investment into Toronto but they are about to up their game with Google labs. It is an entire community they intend on building just south of the Lakeshore in the Port lands. Not much has been released in terms of design but here is what I know.
- Sidewalk Labs to develop a 12-acre swath of the city into a high-tech neighborhood.
- Sidewalk Labs, the urban-innovation arm of Google's parent company, Alphabet, had committed $10 million for the planning process, and an additional $40 million in investment has now been unlocked. The entire development is expected to cost at least $1 billion.
- The company has been quiet about the exact plans for the neighborhood, but its CEO, Dan Doctoroff, has spoken about how urban environments could be improved through self-driving cars, machine learning, high-speed internet, and embedded sensors that track energy usage.
This is great news for the city and I cannot wait to see what they are going to do.
Intel also announced plans to add a new plant in North York. The plant will be the main engineering and design facility for the company’s new GPUs that are set to launch in 2020.
They were quoted saying “Choosing Toronto was a strategic move for Intel, which was drawn in by the city’s thriving technology landscape, as everyone from NVIDIA to Samsung has opened AI or research labs in the city in the past year.”
For those who are not as much of a real estate junkie as me you may not have noticed the construction happening across from the ACC (fuck the new name). It is going to be CIBC’s new headquarters.
Canada's fifth-largest bank is moving its headquarters south, anchoring two new towers at the end of Bay Street.
The two towers will be connected and will rise 49 floors each at 81 and 141 Bay Street. Right across from Union Station and the Air Canada Centre, straddling the train tracks that lead to Union. The first building is scheduled to be finished in 2020, the other in 2023. The 2.9 million-square-foot complex is being done by Ivanhoé Cambridge and privately owned U.S. developer Hines Interests LP.
15,000 CIBC employees from the bank's 20+ offices across Toronto will be moved into this new space.
There is also other space to be leased out so stay tuned.
What does this mean?
Well my friends, it is simple. This means there is a lot more people coming to the city. People who will have high paying, great jobs.
They will need a place to live and believe it not, one of the biggest reason so many of these companies are choosing to come to the city is because of its affordability.
I know those of us who have seen the city transform in the last few years are having a hard time seeing how much more it can go.
But let me tell you, it’s more. Much, much, more.
Sometimes, I think people who live here really do not appreciate what an amazing city we live in. We are very blessed here, honestly speaking, from someone who has done a fair bit of traveling. We so much culture here. One of the best food scenes in the world. Health care. A secure banking system. Limited corruption. Amazing schools and institutions. 5 months of summer (lol). Rights and freedoms. Opportunity.
Honestly, watch out world. Toronto is about to blow.
Those who are waiting for that crash….keep waiting.