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25 York in downtown T.O. sets BOMA BEST record

The 25 York Street office complex in downtown Toronto, owned by Menkes Developments Ltd., and the...

Toronto, Menkes, 25 York Street, BOMA BEST

Menkes’ 25 York Street office complex in downtown Toronto has beat its own BOMA BEST record. (Courtesy Menkes Developments Ltd.)

The 25 York Street office complex in downtown Toronto, owned by Menkes Developments Ltd., and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) has eclipsed its own BOMA BEST record.

The building has been recertified at the Platinum level with a global record 99.2 per cent score.

BOMA Best is Canada’s largest environmental assessment and certification program for existing buildings, with 7,000 buildings obtaining a certification or recertification since its inception in 2005. Of those, only 117 have achieved the highest ranking of platinum.

“We take pride in maintaining a leadership position in the commercial real estate industry,” said Peter Menkes, president, commercial/industrial, in the announcement. “This has been a remarkable property since its inception and one we are so proud to co-own and manage.

“Of course, behind every great property is a great team. We realize these significant achievements would not be possible without the hard work of our property management team.”

Menkes’ Telus Harbour beats BOMA record

The class-AAA property is known as Telus Harbour thanks to its anchor tenant. The tower stands 30 storeys and comprises 780,000 square feet of office space, plus 30,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. Telus, which is also its largest tenant, occupies about 62 per cent of the office space.

In 2015, 25 York had set the previous BOMA record for office buildings with 96.6 per cent. As Jon Douglas, Menkes’ director of portfolio services and sustainability recalled, the management team has made a series of additional upgrades to get that extra few percentage points. A big focus has been lighting.

“There have been a number of energy conservation measures done since the last time we certified,” he told Sustainable Biz Canada in an interview. “Most of those would be on the lighting side, so upgrading to LED lights, putting in occupancy sensors (into) the three levels of the parking garage … because obviously parking garage lighting is on 24/7.”

The building was completed in 2009 as a partnership between Menkes and HOOPP. Its lobby links to Toronto’s PATH indoor pedestrian walkway system which connects it to facilities such as the Scotiabank Arena, the city’s main convention centre, shops, Union Station and the TTC.

It has garnered a long list of awards and accomplishments, including being the first building in Canada to achieve Fitwel certification in 2018. Fitwel is a separate global sustainability certification created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. General Services Administration.

Telus Harbour is triple-LEED certified

In 2019 the property was named BOMA’s The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) in Canada. It has also achieved LEED Platinum: Existing Building Operations & Maintenance, LEED Core and Shell Gold and LEED Commercial Interiors Gold. It is one of the few buildings in Canada to achieve triple LEED certification.

Douglas doesn’t preclude trying to nail down the remaining 0.8 per cent on the BOMA rating. The building must recertify every three years, and BOMA’s criteria can change based on updated best practices and standards.

BOMA assesses a building based on 10 factors: energy usage, water usage, air quality, comfort, health and wellness, custodial, purchasing, waste, site, and stakeholder engagement.

“We hold monthly energy management meetings where it’s very much a kitchen table approach, where we bring in an external consultant, the property management team, we have the ops teams, I’m involved,” said Douglas. One of the key aims is to discover additional areas of efficiency.

25 York‘s monitoring system and tracking procedures also garnered the building an ENERGY STAR rating of 98 for its energy usage.

“There’s a reason why the building has an Energy Star 98,” he continued. “We’re not going to let that slip; we’re going to keep pushing that building. It has an energy portal, all of its sub-meters and meters are connected. So we can see all of the meters live, and we can diagnose problems faster. It’s because we’re constantly monitoring it.”

The record score drew strong praise from the head of BOMA.

“Menkes’ near-perfect score for 25 York reflects ongoing operational excellence, and the fact that this building now has the highest-ever recorded score for BOMA BEST speaks volumes,” said Benjamin Shinewald, BOMA Canada’s president and chief executive officer, in the announcement. “The commercial real estate industry is already deeply invested in BOMA BEST and in sustainability, but the Menkes team is a leader among leaders.

“We salute Menkes on this remarkable accomplishment.”

About Menkes Developments Ltd.

Menkes is a fully integrated real estate company involved in the construction, ownership and management of office, industrial, retail and residential properties. Founded in 1954, it is one of the largest private developers in Canada, with a primary focus in the Greater Toronto Area.

Menkes also owns/operates Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel and Residences in Bloor-Yorkville and the two-million-square-foot Harbour Plaza/One York commercial retail complex among its other properties.

Each of its assets which are eligible for the BOMA program are certified at gold or above. A building must have a 50-per-cent occupancy rate for at least one year to be considered eligible, and applicants have up to six months to complete their assessment. Menkes has two new waterfront developments and a revitalization project at 320 Bay St., which are yet to become eligible for certification.

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