In the pursuit of cost reduction and the amalgamation of four production facilities into one to create Calgary’s largest digital, on-demand document processing and fulfillment centre, DATA Group presented Colliers advisors Michael Massing and Evan Truman with a challenging project.
DATA Group was looking to consolidate three Calgary facilities and a fourth in Burnaby, BC. With this move, the company would be able to create efficiencies and reduce costs, as well as modernize its facility and improve the work environment for more than 200 employees.
In 2013, DATA Group worked with another global real estate firm and was well down the road with a local developer for a build-to-suit facility. When plans did not come into fruition, DATA went back on the hunt for premises. “The facility needed to be existing due to time constraints and the budget we were working within, so a build-to-suit was off the table,” said Massing. “When a tenant comes back to the market a second time, it can be a challenge to get the attention of some landlords.”
For Massing, the first step was identifying the right facility in terms of both function and price. “As all brokers know, finding the right building is only a small part of what we do,” said Massing. The former Haworth manufacturing building at 10 Smed Lane SE fit the bill. Incidentally, another Colliers client, Hungerford Properties, had recently purchased this building with Neil Ferris as advisor.
The 761,000-square-foot building in question was in the early stages of a massive redevelopment to turn it into a multi-tenant facility. The next step for Massing was to work with DATA Group to assemble a team of designers, mechanical consultants, as well as a contractor to evaluate how and at what cost the team would make the facility work. The space needed to accommodate DATA Group’s unique manufacturing processes, digital processes and office area. The manufacturing area required heavy power (more than 2,000 amps), humidity-controlled and air- conditioned areas, and needed to accommodate heavy floor loads.
“There were two big challenges in completing this project,” said Massing. “The first was designing and pricing such a large scope of work including 15,600 square feet of new office and 90,000 square feet of specialized manufacturing, all within 60 days in a market where costs are constantly changing. Our contractor, Engelhart Reed in Calgary, did a tremendous job. The second was backfilling a 55,000-square-foot trailing lease obligation in one of Data’s Calgary buildings, which was necessary to keep the amalgamation within the client’s payback period.”
With so many moving parts to the project, four Colliers representatives worked together to make it all happen. “All of us were constantly communicating to align the various parties,” said Massing. Massing represented DATA Group; Neil Ferris represented DATA Group’s new landlord, Hungerford Properties; Paul Marsden represented Mancal Properties, the landlord for the backfill space; and Matt Binfet represented Saputo, the new tenant taking over DATA’s 55,000–square-foot, former space.
“Having the Colliers Calgary Industrial team involved on all sides made this project happen. It’s a great story on our reach and strength in the market, and our team approach,” said Massing. As Colliers is also a client of DATA Group’s, everyone involved was committed to securing a positive outcome.
DATA Group expects to be fully operational in its new location by March 2015. “We are excited to be part of the Icon Business Park,” said Todd Schmautz, regional vice-president of The Data Group for Alberta, in a statement that appeared in the Calgary Herald. “The quality and the accessibility of the building will have a positive impact on our business and our staff.”