Shopify to Invest as Much as $380 Million in Toronto’s Tech Boom

(Bloomberg) -- Canadian tech darling Shopify Inc. is revving up its growth engine in Toronto.

The Ottawa-based company is investing as much as C$500 million ($384 million) in Canada’s biggest city to lease 254,000 square feet (23,600 square meters) from Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust and RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust at the Well, one of Toronto’s biggest office developments, according to a statement Friday. Bloomberg News first reported in June that Shopify was in the final stages of negotiations on the lease, which is for 15 years.

Shares of Shopify, which provides online stores for more than 600,000 businesses, are almost seven times as high as at their initial public offering in 2015. The company’s investment in Toronto follows a year of rapid growth in which Shopify has boosted its workforce across Canada by about 50 percent to more than 3,000 employees, according to a spokeswoman.

The company has about 700 workers in Canada’s biggest city alone and plans to expand that head count, as well as its footprint -- a lease of another 178,000 square feet on King Street West is set to begin next year. Occupancy at the Well is slated for 2022.

Shopify’s expansion in Toronto follows a flurry of growth in both jobs and office leases for the tech sector. Earlier this month, Uber Technologies Inc. announced that it was building an engineering hub in 2019 and expanding to more than 500 employees in the city in the coming years.

Meanwhile, Shopify finds itself increasingly competing with Amazon.com Inc., a prospect that Chief Executive Officer Tobias Lutke said on Tuesday he welcomed.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.