The pandemic will significantly accelerate interest in urban office spaces: Allied Properties REIT 's CEO
“I think Corporate Canada is beginning to accelerate and lead again with the respect to the return to the office. There is a chartered bank who, for some reason only known to it, has declared it’s not returning until 2022,” Michael Emory, chief executive officer of Allied Properties REIT said in an interview Wednesday.
The bank Emory is referring to is Toronto-Dominion Bank, which revealed in September that it’s not planning to start returning its employees to the office until next year.
He called TD’s move an “unusual thing to do at that point in time” since COVID-19 vaccination programs were well underway and were proving successful in controlling the spread of the virus.
Emory previously said Canada’s big banks need to take the lead in the country's return to the office, just as they did with remote work at the onset of the pandemic.
“Progress has been made (and) the acceleration has begun. There are a few conspicuous exceptions, and the rationale for that is beyond me, but I can see significant progress and significant leadership being exhibited by leading Canadian corporate institutions and organizations,” Emory said.
Allied operates about 200 office properties concentrated in Canada’s major cities. Many of its tenants are knowledge-based firms.
Emory said out of Allied’s 1,300 tenants, about 81 per cent have reopened their offices and have been steadily bringing workers back.
“There hasn’t been a great deal that they’ve had to do to their space in order to meet the physical distancing and other protocols that all well-run office users have to meet in the current circumstances. So, return-to-office is very much underway for us and physical alternations required to facilitate that – because most of our space is open plan – fortunately, is minimal,” he said.