5 Innovative Projects in Commercial Real Estate

Several organizations have seen the benefits of having urban farming on their site as innovative projects in commercial real estate are getting more popular. Here are five urban farm projects, installed by MicroHabitat, which fostered team building, offered an opportunity to connect with nature, and improved the communities they belong to.

Canada Life Building – GWL Realty Advisors

The historical building situated in downtown Toronto is one of the many sites hosting an urban farm in the Ontario metropolis. Managed by GWL Realty Advisors, the BOMA BEST Gold building takes part in a network totaling 13 rooftops in 2021.  They all contribute to feeding communities, as all the crops are donated to local food banks.  GWLRA’s mission demonstrates its willingness to integrate sustainability in their activities and get invested in helping local communities around issues like food insecurity. 

“Partnering with MicroHabitat has proven to be seamless for us. The gardeners and the team at our gardens look great, and more importantly, they produce tons of fresh, local food so we can give back to those in need. Tenants have responded to these programs in ways we did not expect. We are immensely proud of our partnership with MicroHabitat and look forward to expanding our locations and enjoying many sustainable years ahead.”

Elizabeth Schreurs
Vice President, Property Management
GTA / Corporate Properties

Eaton Center of Montreal, retail – Ivanhoé Cambridge 

In a desire to put in place tangible measures to reduce its ecological footprint and improve its sustainability performance, Ivanhoé Cambridge has partnered with MicroHabitat to revitalize the roofs of the Eaton Center, located in Montreal, with flourishing vegetable gardens. In addition to contributing to the greening of Montreal’s downtown, the urban farm helps support young people in need by adhering to the Urban Solidarity Farms initiative and dedicating all its harvests to the local food bank Dans la rue.

“This project offers the opportunity to be innovative in the commercial real estate industry, to look beyond the traditional uses of buildings and maximize their potential to help meet the needs of the community.”

Nacera Zahed, 
Property Manager of Centre Eaton,
Place Montréal Trust and le 1500

Eastern Portfolio – Manulife Investment Management

With its six urban farms distributed in the Montreal area, Manulife Investment Management is giving an opportunity to its property managers to take meaningful actions and sensitize their members to healthy life habits. Using urban agriculture as a learning platform, Manulife Investment Management brings the movement to another level through mobilization activities, workshops, and the distribution of urban farming kits to its members so they can start growing at home. With only a handful of urban vegetable farms, their initiative is able to reach, inspire and benefit a large diversity of people, resulting in a considerable impact. 

“Partnering with Microhabitat was a natural fit as we work towards creating urban spaces that support biodiversity and the needs of our community. The specialized garden tours and hands-on workshops for our tenants have also promoted the importance of supporting our local communities and food sources.”

Stephan Nicoletti
Managing Director, Eastern Canada

Park Vista Apartments – CAPREIT 

As one of the largest residential real estate owner enterprises in Canada, CAPREIT has a mission to provide healthy living spaces to urban communities. Their partnership with MicroHabitat for the development of four urban farms situated on the ground of residences in Montreal and Toronto shows their dedication to create green and mobilizing spaces for their tenants. The residents can benefit from fresh herbs, greens and vegetables all summer long!

The installation of the urban garden has transformed our green space to provide our residents with healthy, accessible and sustainable agriculture. The urban garden has given the opportunity for our residents to connect with nature, meet new people, and experience where our food comes from. This initiative has been successful in providing our residents with the resources, knowledge and tools for improved wellness through gardening.”  

Barbara Pinto,
Senior ESG Analyst

Dix30 – Oxford Properties

Based in the Greater Montreal Area, the retail center Dix30 managed by Oxford Properties distinguishes itself not only by its diversity of stores, but also because of its engagement in sustainability. The property is BOMA BEST certified and shows engagement in its community by donating its harvest to local food banks.  

This first urban agriculture experience in Quartier DIX30 has allowed us to completely dedicate a space where nature is highlighted. This vegetable garden offers all our visitors and employees the chance to have a tangible experience and connect with nature by seeing the continued growth of the farm. This initiative allows us to contribute to sustainable development while having a beautiful garden to visit every day! We are more than proud to say that the vegetable garden is now an integral part of the Quartier and brings life and color to it

Melyssa Houle, CMD
Senior Property Manager