25 York Street Recognized for its Health and Wellbeing Initiatives

January 24, 2018

TORONTO (January 24, 2018) – Menkes Developments Ltd. (Menkes) a fully integrated Canadian real estate company, has announced today that 25 York Street is the first office building in Canada to receive Fitwel certification.  Fitwel, a revolutionary and evidence-based building certification system for wellbeing in real estate, elevates occupant health and productivity via targeted improvements to workplace design and operational policies. Taking charge in an industry-leading move to implement Fitwel initiatives, Menkes is actively promoting opportunities for occupants to improve both their health and wellbeing.

“We view Fitwel as a great initiative to allow us to engage with our tenants in new ways, and as a way to measure our performance in promoting health and wellbeing at our properties” said Jon Douglas, Director of Sustainability at Menkes. “We want to create opportunities for our occupants to live their healthiest lives by making this goal convenient and actionable to them, and Fitwel is a practical program to support Menkes in delivering on this objective.”

Created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the General Services Administration, Fitwel has successfully ignited a culture of health and wellness within both private and public sector office and residential properties. The Center for Active Design (CfAD) is the licensed operator of Fitwel, and actively works to inspire real estate companies to adopt Fitwel into their developments. 

“Time and time again, Menkes has raised the standard on developing high-quality buildings that promote health and environmental sustainability,” said Joanna Frank, CEO and President of the Center for Active Design. “By becoming a Fitwel champion, applying Fitwel across multiple properties, and achieving Fitwel certification, Menkes has once again shown tremendous leadership in using commercial real estate to effectively impact the quality of life of building occupants.”

A Fitwel scorecard includes over 55 evidence-based design and operational strategies that enhance building environments by requiring a standard of excellence in seven health impact categories. These include healthy food options, occupant safety, physical activity, well-being, social equity, morbidity and absenteeism, and community health. 

In addition to achieving Fitwel certification, 25 York Street has additionally aligned itself with the BOMA BEST certification system – a strategic Canadian partner to Fitwel.

“Menkes commitment to sustainability is exemplary. 25 York Street enjoys one of the highest-ever BOMA BEST certification scores, and now has achieved Canada’s first-ever Fitwel certification for an office building,” said Benjamin Shinewald, President and CEO of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada (BOMA Canada) a program partner with Fitwel. “Menkes really is a leader in both sustainable and healthy buildings"

Completed in 2010, 25 York Street is a partnership between Menkes and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP). The project has helped revitalize Toronto's waterfront, and is home to TELUS.  This Class “AAA” office tower which sits on 1.8 acres, and offers 30,000 sq. ft. of retail space on the ground level, consists of 30-storeys of over 780,000 sqft of office space.  

Striving to achieve Fitwel certification was a clear choice for Menkes. “Our mandate to focus highly on tenant health and wellness has never been stronger. Fitwel has enabled us to gain valuable insight into the way we operate our buildings,” said Taryn Kelly, Senior Property Manager at 25 York Street. “We’re proud to have achieved certification here at 25 York Street, we’re excited about sharing the announcement with our tenants, and we’re excited about our future with Fitwel as it will continue to push our boundaries and motivate us to innovate.”

While Fitwel certification has been instrumental in Menkes’ ability to provide healthy working spaces for building occupants, the company additionally offers a wide range of services and programs to promote wellness separate from the certification – such as on-site flu shot clinics. Furthermore, the Menkes Healthy Spaces program, a three-year wellbeing initiative, focuses on encouraging Menkes commercial office occupants to partake in healthier lifestyle choices through targeting four main areas – eating well, being active, maintaining health, and engaging the mind.