CIBC Mellon adds Mississauga office

Risk management behind site selection of suburban outpost
Thursday, October 13, 2016
By Michelle Ervin

Growth is a common reason for companies to relocate. Indeed, it was one of two key drivers behind CIBC Mellon’s recent move into a Mississauga outpost. The financial services provider was in expansion mode after acquiring new business.

Risk management was the other key driver behind CIBC Mellon’s move. As a matter of business continuity, it selected a site in the large suburban centre rather than searching for additional space in downtown Toronto.

“We have several alternate backup locations for staff, but we wanted to separate the primary working locations of our team — in the event one office is impacted, we can more easily shift work around,” explained Johnny Fong, assistant vice president, corporate real estate and administration, CIBC Mellon.

“As an example, earlier this summer there was a brief power outage in downtown Toronto, so we proactively decided to shift some employees to our alternate locations and to the Mississauga office, which is well set up with hoteling stations for visiting staff.”

CIBC Mellon celebrated the opening of its new office, now home to more than 150 accounting, client service and operations staff, last month. Phase one of the project gave the financial services provider 35,650 square feet on the 10th and 12th floors of 55 Standish Crt.

This particular location in Mississauga provided proximity to highways 401, 407 and 401 as well as a planned light rapid transit stop at Britannia Road and Hurontario Street, said Fong. Plus, it gave employees access to free parking and the ability to run errands at the nearby Heartland Town Centre.

The building itself contained attractive amenities including a new tenant lounge and fitness facilities that offer massage therapy and yoga classes. It also contrasted CIBC Mellon’s downtown Toronto location in a historical building surrounded by skyscrapers.

The modern facilities benefited from natural daylight and unimpeded views, which WZMH Architects, who designed and managed the project, sought to accentuate.

“We basically took all of the spaces where people work on a day-to-day basis, and all their workstations, and we put them around the perimeter to have access to all the large windows,” said Zenon Radewych, principal, WZMH Architects. “Then we moved all of the spaces that required four walls around them — i.e. meeting rooms and special offices — and put them around the core.”

One aspect that was unique to designing for CIBC Mellon was the need to integrate the branding of both of its 50-50 joint venture owners, CIBC and BNY Mellon. The resulting palette incorporates blues, greens, oranges and yellows that double as wayfinding elements, said Jerome de Kauwe, designer, WZMH Architects

“There are punches of colour,” as he described it. “It’s not a dull, grey office with white furniture.”

This sort of effort to incorporate multiple stakeholders’ perspectives was fitting, given the project’s wider focus on promoting collaboration within the new office.

Not only are many workstations arranged in beehive-style configurations, but the space provides a range of collaboration-promoting spaces. Notably, the multi-purpose lunchroom expands to accommodate large gatherings thanks to a sliding glass door.

With its Mississauga office, CIBC Mellon hopes to retain the great staff it has, as well as attract professionals from the growing city’s talent pool.

“When a new employee comes into the space, they get to experience this bright and open area, with teams connecting around small tables or comfortable chairs, modern workstations, and people who clearly want to be here,” said Fong.

The project was completed on schedule over the span of roughly six months, split about evenly between design and construction.

A unique procurement process helped the financial services provider stick to its budget. Where possible, CIBC Mellon contracted directly with furniture vendors and others to avoid markups.

“They took advantage of their relationships with suppliers over the years and only tendered the work that had to be tendered through the general contractor,” said Radewych.

A second phase, scheduled for occupancy before the year is out, will give the company another 23,550 square feet on the fifth floor of 55 Standish Crt.

Michelle Ervin is the editor of Canadian Facility Management & Design.

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