Client story

How experience management doubled leasing activity at a Toronto office building

Revitalizing a once-awkward office park with curated tenant engagement services boosted occupancy and leasing rates


Multitenant office park “ups” amenity game and increases leasing rate by 200%


812,602 square feet


Toronto, Canada

Sometimes, evolution looks like new furniture or a volleyball court. Other times, it’s an on-site gym and smart parking. Those are just a few of the new elements added to Toronto’s Parkway Place as part of an effort to lure tenants and their employees back to the office.

Parkway, a set of four interconnected multitenant office buildings totaling 812,602 square feet on nearly 33 acres, sits in what JLL Director, Strategy & Customer Experience, Meghan Lareau calls “a bit of no-man’s land.”

“It’s a business park that’s very difficult to access,” she said. “It doesn’t have great transportation or infrastructure. It’s just been very difficult to market since the day it was built. But we knew it had potential—a diamond in the rough.”

When Avenu Properties hired JLL as the property manager at Parkway in June 2022, the asset had an estimated 20% to 30% vacancy rate and a host of other issues, including untapped amenities. Our first order of business? Show the art of what’s possible.

In the “amenity war,” experience management wins big

To learn more about what the property could offer to tenants, Avenu Properties’ operations and leasing manager James Graves joined the JLL Canada Property Management team on a visit to the city of Chicago.

The group experienced the results of what Graves called “an amenity war” in the Windy City’s office sector, notably the Aon Center and the Old Post Office.

“It was interesting for us to see how amenities made so much difference in the appeal of a building,” he said. “Things like an in-house gym and a tenant lounge where people can gather for a coffee or a drink. That was the turning point. We took our thinking from how we could get tenants into the building to how we could make the office the place to be. The combination of our approach and JLL’s creativity allowed us to think outside the box.”

Parkway Place became the first Canadian asset to take on JLL’s full Experience Management (XM) package. Taking a phased approach to repositioning the outdated property, the group began rolling out its suite of services including:

  • Property Management, a vertically integrated platform of programs, tools and techniques to drive investment value.

  • Experience Management (XM), tenant engagement services crafted to drive occupancy and leasing rates, including a new 30,000-square-foot center featuring multiple cafes, a fitness center with yoga studio, a tenant conference center and volleyball and basketball courts.

  • The HqO app, specialized commercial real estate workplace technology designed to drive tenant and employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.

  • Additional partnerships with local business associations, farmer’s markets and a wide spectrum of events open to all retail tenants and others in the neighborhood.

“This helps bring people to the asset, gets that feeling of community going,” Graves said. “It’s engaging with our tenants. There’s a completely different feeling.”

Bringing workers back

On a recent fall afternoon, Sami Shihata returned from his lunch break. The Parkway General Manager noticed an obvious change at the property.

“There were more than 40 people at the concourse level,” he said. “That’s a huge change from when we first began repositioning.”

Today, foot traffic has risen to nearly 60-70% on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. It’s a testament to the work JLL and Avenu have done to turn the property around. But their work doesn’t end there.

No place like the office?

Tyler Kethcart knows there’s no place like home. As the Director of Experience Management at JLL, he’s well aware that home offices are the biggest threat to the long-term success of Parkway’s redevelopment.

He’s come to that battle prepared.

“We’re trying to give the tenants a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) by providing a sense of community and connection through a wide array of amenities.”

Those amenities include art installations as well as a regular farmer’s market, in addition to improved first impressions stemming from revamped landscaping and maintenance.

A turn for the better

Graves believes that the Parkway Place team is headed in the right direction.

“We’re definitely giving tenants a reason to come back,” he said. “We’ve turned it into a lively, interesting place to be—a center of innovation. That’s our goal, and we think we’re on the right track.”

He couldn’t be more impressed with what JLL brought to the table.

“It was a match made in heaven in a number of ways,” he said. “We are succeeding in arguably one of the toughest markets we’ve ever seen.”