WPP Is Anchor Tenant for Menkes Toronto Waterfront Project

WPP Plc, the global advertising and marketing company, will be the anchor tenant at a new development on Toronto’s waterfront.

The London-based firm will lease about 260,000 square feet (about 24,000 square meters) at Menkes Development Ltd.’s Waterfront Innovation Centre on Queens Quay East, Menkes said in a statement Friday. WPP, which owns various digital brands, plans to consolidate its portfolio of 19 operating companies in Toronto in that new space. 

Bloomberg first reported the deal Thursday.

  Illustration showing the Waterfront Innovation Centre. Source: Menkes

Illustration showing the Waterfront Innovation Centre. Source: Menkes

The new site will house about 2,000 WPP employees, who are expected to move in starting in 2021, WPP said in a statement. Companies including Ogilvy, Grey and GroupM are part of WPP’s portfolio in Toronto.

“The Toronto co-location allows proximity for all the Group’s people in a building that will be state-of-the-art in terms of technology infrastructure,” said Mark Read, chief operating officer at WPP.

Development in Toronto is spilling out of the downtown core to the east end and waterfront, driven by surging demand from the tech industry, which last year created more jobs in the city than the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle and Washington, D.C. combined, according to CBRE. In addition to WPP, Toronto’s main innovation hub, MaRS Discovery District, is said to seek more space in the city’s east end.

Menkes is partnering on the innovation center with real estate investment manager Alcion Ventures LP and Waterfront Toronto, a government-funded corporation charged with revitalizing land along Lake Ontario. Waterfront Toronto is also working with Alphabet Inc.’s Sidewalk Labs LLC to build a digital haven in the neighboring area.

The Waterfront Innovation Centre will include about 400,000 square feet of offices and more than 30,000 square feet of retail space, next to the city’s Sugar Beach. The project is currently going through pre-leasing for remaining space and is set for construction this summer. CBRE Group Inc. was the sole adviser on the transaction.