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Rio Tinto Alcan moving Montreal headquarters

A view of Maison Alcan on Sherbrooke Street in Montreal.

Alcan

Rio Tinto Group is moving its Alcan subsidiary from its "Maison Alcan" head office complex built around a group of heritage homes on Sherbrooke Street to a new office tower owned by Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd.

Toronto-based Cadillac Fairview said on Thursday that it has struck a long-term lease agreement with British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto for new digs on the top eight floors of the 26-storey Deloitte Tower in the fall of 2015. The Deloitte Tower is located in the downtown area that also includes the Bell Centre – home of the Montreal Canadiens – and the heritage-designated Windsor Station.

Rio Tinto will relocate its 800 employees at its Montreal office, including the global headquarters of Rio Tinto Alcan, to the Deloitte Tower.

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Rio Tinto Alcan's predecessor – aluminum giant Alcan Inc. – has been in its present location for about 30 years. The modern, aluminum-clad head office complex was integrated into the 19th-century grouping of stately homes in the storied, wealthy enclave known as the "Golden Square Mile.

Just before it was bought by Rio Tinto in 2007, Alcan announced that it would invest up to $50-million (U.S.) to renovate and expand the head office "campus" on Sherbrooke Street.

That plan never came to fruition.

"Cadillac Fairview is proud to partner with Rio Tinto, and the decision to choose Deloitte Tower as their new home in Montreal speaks to the quality of our project," Cadillac Fairview president and chief executive officer John Sullivan said in a statement.

Cadillac Fairview, the real estate arm of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, claims that the Deloitte Tower will be Montreal's first privately owned commercial office tower to be built in more than 20 years.

It is to be part of a larger, multiphase, mixed use project that includes retail and residential elements.

"As a long-time member of the Montreal community Rio Tinto Alcan has an important place in this city's history, but today we are looking to the exciting future for our company in this city and our new home," Rio Tinto Alcan chief executive Jacynthe Côté said.

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Rio Tinto also said on Thursday it has concluded an agreement for the sale of the space on Sherbrooke Street West and that details of the sale will be unveiled soon.

There has been speculation over the past few years that Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté and partners have been looking to buy the "Maison Alcan" location and turn it into a hotel-entertainment complex.

Rio Tinto's lease for the new space in the Deloitte Tower is for about 190,000 square feet.

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About the Author
Quebec Business Correspondent

Bertrand has been covering Quebec business and finance since 2000. Before joining The Globe and Mail in 2000, he was the Toronto-based national business correspondent for Southam News. He has a B.A. from McGill University and a Bachelor of Applied Arts from Ryerson. More

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