The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. has allowed premium office space to sit empty in its downtown Toronto headquarters for years, despite a tight office market that has seen rents climb 60 per cent since the end of the recession.
Commercial real estate brokers in the city estimate the surplus space in the Canadian Broadcasting Centre could be leased for approximately $12-million a year. The broadcaster’s Front Street building was built in 1992, but aside from a short window when it opened it has never been fully occupied.
With recent budget cuts putting renewed pressure on the broadcaster to cut its costs and find alternate sources of revenue, the CBC is extending its search for tenants beyond the public sector and has applied to the city to rezone the building to allow for commercial tenants.
“We’ve tried to find Crown corporations and various other government agencies that we could host but their requirements are very small,” said Maryse Bertrand, the CBC’s vice-president of real estate. “They want 500 square feet, and I have 500,000.”
It’s part of a broader effort the broadcaster is undertaking across the country to turn its vast real estate holdings into cash....Its vast real estate holdings? Are you kidding me? The Ceeb is funded by the government via us, the cash-strapped tax-payer. How, then, are these vast holdings the exclusive property of the Corp? And why are we paying out of our pockets when, for years now, the Ceeb has been holding out on us and squandering the opportunity to earn tons of coin on its own?