A few hours before a council meeting that would discuss the potential redevelopment of the Bakers St. parking lot for a new 200,000 square foot headquarters for the Co-operators, the insurers have reached an agreement with the City of Guelph to develop a new main building in the south end in time for a 2023 move in.
“The Co-operators has a proud and vibrant history with the City of Guelph that we are thrilled to see continue,” said Rob Wesseling, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Co-operators, in a City press release. “We are grateful to the City for their support and collaboration in working with us to find a location that allows us to remain rooted in this community as we bring our three Guelph offices together under one roof.”
Those locations are 130 Macdonell St., 98 Macdonell St., and 649 Scottsdale Dr., the Co-operators lease all three properties and those leases all expire in 2023. An article in the Guelph Tribune earlier this year, said that the company was "exploring options" to consolidate their operations, and all 1,000 employees, under one roof. Senior communications consultant Leonard Sharman told the Trib back in February that at the time the company was looking at options, particularly the option of building a new headquarters at Baker St. or Fountain St.
The City issued an RFI (request for information) earlier this year to gauge private sector interest in redeveloping five city-owned properties: the Baker St. parking lot, the Fountain St. parking lot, the main branch of the public library, the parking lot between Macdonell and Cork St., and Guelph Fire/EMS headquarters on Wyndham St. The precise location of the new site has not been revealed, but the Co-operators are promising a "new state-of-the-art hub" that will also likely solve the parking dilemma they've been experiencing having most of their operations downtown.
“In today’s competitive market, I want to thank The Co-operators for choosing to stay in Guelph. We know there were other options. We also appreciate the company’s need to consider their future requirements along with present ones,” added Mayor Cam Guthrie. “We’re thrilled to welcome The Co-operators to the city’s south end. Most importantly, by staying in Guelph, The Co-operators will continue to provide good jobs and make other important contributions to our community; that’s excellent news for Guelph.”
As for Baker St., the opportunity's still there for another anchor tenant like the YMCA, or Conestoga College to take the lead. Stay tuned...