Office subleases are flooding the market in downtown Toronto: Jones Lang LaSalle

TORONTO — One commercial real estate company says it has seen a “spike” in vacant offices in downtown Toronto as businesses have struggled to sublet their expensive spaces.

Jones Lang LaSalle IP Inc. says in a report that only one large, new downtown lease was signed during the second quarter.

It estimates tenants, especially small businesses, put 169 office spaces on the market.

It reported the bulk of new leases on the market are subleases, although some departures were planned before COVID-19 shut down much of Bay Street.

While there are businesses lurking in the wings to rent space, JLL says tenants and landlords that work with it are “still waiting for stability to return in the office market and in everyday life.”

JLL saw downtown rents rise by more than 7 per cent.

The group says the GTA’s North East suburban office market could benefit from COVID-19 thanks to cheaper rents and lower density, which could aid physical distancing measures.

While most business leaders are putting suburban real estate decisions on hold, companies like Infosys Ltd., Capgemini, RBC Financial Group, Kruger Products, General Mills, Inc., Waste Connections of Canada and Amberson College have made big moves in the suburbs.

“Downtown Toronto remains a landlord’s market,” JLL said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 16, 2020.

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