I hate brick-and-beam offices. Sorry Allied, but this is the truth.
 
I used to love them. In fact, for the last eight years, BuzzBuzzHome has always been in a brick-and-beam building. First, at the corner of Queen and Dufferin in the Radiator building, and now at our office at Peter and Adelaide Streets.
 
When we first moved into our current office, I thought it was the best, the coolest, the most amazing. The wooden floors; the rustic, high ceilings made of wood; the open space; the exposed beams. Yes, these elements look awesome, but they suck in an office space.
 
My biggest complaint is the noise transfer between floors. Luckily, we are on the top level of our building, but we are always getting angry calls from the people below us that we are too loud. We are, in fact, really quiet, but in a brick-and-beam building, even subtle sound can translate to too much noise.
 
And then, there’s the temperature. These buildings were not meant to be offices, and their heating and A/C systems just don’t work well enough for an office. In the summer, it is hot. In the winter, it is either too cold or way, way too hot. We are often complaining that the temperature is over 35 degrees— it is unbearable to work in.
Scalding hot, or freezing cold: the office thermostat can’t make up it’s mind.
My next issue is with the space. To truly see the beauty in the brick-and-beam aesthetic, you want a big, open concept layout. But offices don’t work well with open concept, and the more expansive your space is, the more meeting rooms and phone rooms you need. As such, from my experience, brick-and-beam offices are always lacking enough private space for phone calls and meetings.
 
Due to the fact that every tech company thinks that they need to be in a brick-and-beam office, they are totally overpriced. Supply and demand, right? One office we recently checked out was asking $55 per square foot and had five offers on it, but the landlord wanted a cool company like ours to take it. We toured the space. We heard the people on the floor above us flushing the toilet. We noticed the rat traps in the unit. We couldn’t figure out the bizarre design. Yet, near the MARS Discovery District, traditional office spaces we looked into cost just $38 per square foot for better space!
 
We finally decided to go back to the 1970s and move into a proper office building in Toronto, one that is designed for employment, not to admire the nice wooden floors. Effective Jan. 27th, 2019, we will be moving to the top floor of a building at University and Dundas. We are in the final stretch of the build out, and I can’t wait to move in. Hopefully, eight years from now, I won’t be complaining about the low ceilings and carpet in some areas.
 
If you have a startup and are looking for an awesome space, don’t think that you must be in a brick-and-beam space. Don’t buy into the tax on tech startups. Check out some real offices, and you’ll be amazed at the savings and the better work environment.

 

Header Photo: James Bombales
Matthew Slutsky
Author

Matthew Slutsky is the co-founder and co-president of BuzzBuzzHome, Daypack and Livabl. He is also the co-founder of Eighty-Eight. When not talking real-estate he is playing with his dog Schnitzel, or two children.

10 Comments

  1. Lisa Marie Doorey Reply

    Interesting and timely post. I am looking for a 7000 sf space for a cool company and this was great feedback to hear from you. Keep up the good work and enjoy your peace and quiet in 2019. Happy New Year, Lisa Marie

  2. I have a marketing client located in Vaughan. They’re considering a move to downtown Toronto but the high cost of real estate is a big hurdle. Their office is very office park-like but functional and located near the highway so it works for them.

    Mark

    • BuzzBuzzHome
      BuzzBuzzHome Reply

      Location, location, location! Being near to a highway is super important for many. For us, people in the heart of Toronto centre is very important for our team.

  3. Hi Matt which building are you moving into? We are a coworking space near Dundas/University gear towards small team startups. We are looking to expand, and of course no brick-and-beam space for us :).

    Also for anyone’s interested we have number of private offices and dedicate desks available.

    • BuzzBuzzHome
      BuzzBuzzHome Reply

      Hi Brian! We are moving into 425 University Ave – 9th floor.

      What’s your address?

      • Nice! Congrats, we saw your space too and loved so much we also made an offer too haha (more on the later 🙂 We are at 123 Edward St. 2nd floor, drop by! Love to bounce some ideas.

  4. I totally agree Matt and have been saying this for a long time. I feel it’s why some of the larger companies like Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, PayTM and many more are locating in downtown office buildings and making their space cool instead of trying to find already cool space. Great input for the tech community here.

  5. Done, we are here through the core hour most days. Not if you can see my email DM me if you want meet up at a specific time.

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