The purpose of the City-Wide Real Estate (CWRE) mandate is to strategically manage the City’s valuable real estate assets through a coordinated structure to drive city building, enable corporate goals and programs, and ensure financial stewardship.
ModernTO and the Workplace Modernization Program will reduce the City’s office footprint from 55 buildings to 15 by the end of 2027 and modernize municipal work environments. Once fully implemented, the Workplace Modernization Program will:
Since 2017, City Council has reviewed and made recommendations on several stages of this work including upon consideration of ModernTO: Unlocking Eight City-Owned Properties (EX31.10) and City-wide Real Estate – Next Phase of Implementation (EX27.4).
The City-wide portfolio is estimated to be over 8,000 assets and $27 billion in assessed value. The Workplace Modernization Program will reduce the required office footprint by one million square feet, consolidating 14,900 office employees to 15 locations including five fully-renovated, primary office buildings. The City’s office footprint reduction includes 32 full or partial lease collapses.
The Workplace Modernization Program will meet the needs of a changing workforce and support the City’s resilience to respond to emergent challenges. The benefits address several corporate and strategic priorities such as employee productivity and engagement, talent attraction and retention, climate resiliency through the reduction of GHG emissions and traffic congestion, and service delivery improvements and operational efficiency through increased digital connectivity, efficient use of City office spaces and enabling hybrid work. In addition, the Program supports city building priorities, such as housing, and allows the City’s workforce to expand into areas including Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke.
In 2022, the Workplace Modernization Program is working with an external program manager to deliver the program. Engagement with City divisions, agencies and corporations continues, as the Workplace Modernization Program understands their functional requirements to finalize design standards for the modernized spaces, supplemented by a comprehensive change management plan. Work has commenced on select floors of Metro Hall and City Hall, with a targeted completion date of late 2023.
In 2017, Council established the City-Wide Real Estate (CWRE) mandate to centralize all real estate activities including all real estate strategy and portfolio planning, major building projects, developments, real estate transactions and facilities management.
The CWRE mandate established CreateTO in 2018, an agency that provides strategic advice and guidance for the City’s real estate portfolio, develops lands for City purposes, and in cooperation with the City’s Corporate Real Estate Management division, delivers real estate solutions City-wide.
The Workplace Modernization Program determined which office assets are considered “primary office buildings,” a category that requires long-term modernization investments to create transit-oriented civic hubs for government administration. The long-term modernization investments would “unlock” eight assets identified by CreateTO that have an estimated land value of approximately $450 million, subject to market conditions and appraisals.
The Deputy City Manager, Corporate Services, in consultation with the CEO, CreateTO and the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, developed a detailed business case and execution plan to deliver the Workplace Modernization Program. These documents include a cost assessment and a five-year implementation and funding plan for primary office buildings, including an initial investment of $225 million, a master staff accommodation plan, and recommendations on city building opportunities.
Director, Workplace Modernization Program, Corporate Real Estate Management
Executive Director, Corporate Real Estate Management