Microsoft will move its Canadian headquarters from Mississauga to downtown Toronto and hire 500 additional full-time employees, the latest business to abandon the suburbs for the country’s financial district.
The tech company will consolidate its Mississauga headquarters along with a small downtown Toronto office into four floors of a 49-storey tower that is under construction.
That property at 81 Bay St. is set to open in 2020 and will be the home for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. It is one of two buildings that will be called CIBC Square and is co-owned by private real estate investment firm Hines and pension fund-owned real estate company Ivanhoé Cambridge.
Microsoft will take a total of 132,000 square feet in the new building.
The company said it was relocating to “better serve our customers and attract top talent." That is a similar story to others that have announced downtown spots: Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which is at the northern tip of Toronto’s subway line, and doughnut chain Tim Hortons, which is about a 30-minute commute to the financial district.
As part of its move, Microsoft said it will hire an additional 500 full-time employees with expertise in areas such as artificial intelligence, workplace collaboration and cloud technology. The company said it will also add the same number of internships by 2022. The bulk of the new employees will be in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The rest will be in Microsoft’s regional offices, including Calgary, Ottawa and Winnipeg.
Microsoft Canada’s home is one of 23 office buildings under construction in the Greater Toronto Area. More than half of those properties are being built “on spec,” or without a major tenant in place. The allure of Toronto has driven office vacancy rates to record lows, with tech companies and other businesses expanding and relocating to the city.