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25 Ontario Street to be known as EQ Bank Tower after major leasing deal

13/08/2020

First Gulf and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) are delighted to confirm a major lease agreement for 180,000 square feet with EQ Bank at our new office development at 25 Ontario Street, Toronto. As part of the deal, the building - formerly marketed as The Shift - will be known as EQ Bank Tower.

EQ Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Equitable Group Inc., will occupy floors 12 to 19 in the new 24-storey tower which is under construction and set for completion in Q2 2022.

Just as important as leasing space in a building, is securing the right tenant, said First Gulf Executive Vice President Brian Harrison. That is why we are so delighted to add EQ Bank to the list of tenants at 25 Ontario Street alongside Think Research and Spaces. We are now over 80% leased with modern, technologically-savvy clients who are thriving and growing in the same way that the Downtown East district is. We could not be happier to have them aboard and we look forward to working with them - not only as construction progresses, but also via our property management division.

The new EQ Bank Tower is a joint venture between First Gulf and HOOPP that will see 466,000 sf of LEED -Gold office space added to this thriving business node in Toronto's Downtown East. With close to one million sf of office and retail space developed by First Gulf across the Coca-Cola Canada headquarters at 333 King Street East and The Globe & Mail Centre at 351 King Street East, as well as a further 500,000 sf planned at 200 Front, the EQ Bank Tower is the next step in First Gulf's continued commitment to the east side.

The move allows us to leverage new building designs with larger floorplates to accommodate our growing workforce,' said Andrew Moor, President and CEO of Equitable Bank. We considered a number of options, including those in the heart of the downtown financial core, but we've never seen ourselves as a traditional bank, and we believe this building is the most cost-effective path to achieving our long-term goals, while continuing to pass on savings to customers with our branchless digital approach.

Jody Sperling, SVP of Human Resources at Equitable Bank, added: Closer proximity to the downtown core, with convenient access to Union Station, means we can continue to recruit the best of the best with the skills needed to thrive at Canada's leading digital bank.

First Gulf would like to thank the Colliers listing team, as well as Richard McWhirter of Avison Young, for their efforts in finalizing this defining transaction and building upon the success of the downtown east side.

About First Gulf

First Gulf is an award-winning leader in the development of office, industrial, mixed-use and retail properties with developed assets of over $4 billion completed since the company's inception in 1987. First Gulf is a fully integrated development company and is involved in all aspects of real estate development, from land acquisition and planning approvals to design-build, construction, leasing, financing and property management. To date, First Gulf has developed and constructed over 30 million sf of office, retail, and industrial real estate. First Gulf is part of the Great Gulf Group, one of North America's premier real estate organizations. Established in 1975, with major projects in Canada and the United States, the Group's fully-integrated activities span the entire real estate spectrum.

About the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan

HOOPP is the pension plan serving Ontario's hospital and community-based healthcare sector, with more than 570 participating employers. HOOPP's membership includes nurses, medical technicians , food services staff, housekeeping staff, and many other people who provide valued healthcare services. In total, HOOPP has more than 350,000 active, deferred and retired members. HOOPP operates as a private independent trust, and is governed by a Board of Trustees with a sole fiduciary duty to deliver the pension promise. The Board has representation from the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) and four unions: the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Ontario Public Service Employees' Union (OPSEU), and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

About Equitable Group Inc.

Equitable Group Inc. is a growing Canadian financial services business that operates through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Equitable Bank. Equitable Bank, Canada's Challenger BankTM, has grown to become the country's ninth largest independent Schedule I bank through its proven branchless approach and customer service focus in providing residential lending, commercial lending and savings solutions to Canadians. EQ Bank, the digital banking platform offered by Equitable Bank, provides state-of-the-art digital banking services. The EQ Bank Savings Plus Account reimagines banking for Canadians by offering the functionality of a chequing account to perform daily banking with ease, as well as a great everyday interest rate to help transactional balances grow into bigger savings. From unlimited Interac e-Transfers and bill payments to payroll deposits and no monthly fees, everyday banking is now a richer prospect for Canadians. Equitable Bank employs over 900 dedicated professionals across the country. For more information about Equitable Bank and its products, please visit equitablebank.ca.

For further information, please contact First Gulf Sr. Manager, Marketing, Andy Gibb (agibb@firstgulf.com).
LINK: https://firstgulf.com/25-ontario-street-to-be-known-as-eq-bank-tower-a...
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