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Bell Canada building (Water/Duke)
#1
Does anyone know how Bell Canada is utilizing its massive building at Duke and Water Streets?  It's a huge monolith, built in 1940 and not really my idea of a heritage building but maybe it has future potential.  The site certainly is large and at a premium location, next to the LRT and close to the intermodal hub.

Is Bell still utilizing a large part of the building?


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#2
I work in 305 king and they've had about 15 office type people go on the roof and look around a few months ago... kind of odd, as if they're planning something.
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#3
That building is the CO for the area. Every phone line within about a 3-4km radius terminates in that building. While DSL service has shifted more to remotes that are closer to the customer, all of the remotes are still served via fibre from that building. Any future FTTH rollout will probably also keep using that building as the main head end point. I'm pretty sure it's also the main server facility for Bell in the region, given it's larger than the other COs.
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#4
(01-21-2016, 09:47 PM)taylortbb Wrote: That building is the CO for the area. Every phone line within about a 3-4km radius terminates in that building. While DSL service has shifted more to remotes that are closer to the customer, all of the remotes are still served via fibre from that building. Any future FTTH rollout will probably also keep using that building as the main head end point. I'm pretty sure it's also the main server facility for Bell in the region, given it's larger than the other COs.

But with today's technology, I would think that CO function would fit into 1/10 of the building, or less.  Or am I mistaken?
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#5
I find this an odd direction of discussion. What do you mean that the building has "future potential"? It's an old building still serving its original purpose, employing people, and being a perfectly reasonable part of the urban environment. I don't understand what's wrong with the status quo here.
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#6
(01-21-2016, 11:42 PM)mpd618 Wrote: I find this an odd direction of discussion. What do you mean that the building has "future potential"? It's an old building still serving its original purpose, employing people, and being a perfectly reasonable part of the urban environment. I don't understand what's wrong with the status quo here.

Based on the number of cars in the parking lot, it employs fewer than 20 people.  It provides no integration with the street or the rest of downtown.  It is, admittedly, a perfectly reasonable XXXL brick box.  But that seems to me, at least, to make it a prime candidate for intensification.

Or are you saying any viable business should never consider relocation further away from the core, be it Bell, Seagram, Klemmer or Uniroyal?
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#7
> Or are you saying any viable business should never consider relocation further away from the core, be it Bell, Seagram, Klemmer or Uniroyal?

Wires in the ground run from downtown houses and businesses to the CO, it's not really something that's feasible to consider relocating.
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#8
There are a lot of cheaper buildings and parking lots around to intensify before this building and all the associated infrastructure is worth moving.
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#9
(01-21-2016, 11:42 PM)mpd618 Wrote: I find this an odd direction of discussion. What do you mean that the building has "future potential"? It's an old building still serving its original purpose, employing people, and being a perfectly reasonable part of the urban environment. I don't understand what's wrong with the status quo here.

Me too. The building is in good condition and is well maintained. AFAIK Bell pays their property taxes, clears snow off their sidewalks and otherwise behaves as a good citizens.

As others have mentioned this is where most telecommunications lines for K-W go through. It's a critical part of the region's telecommunications infrastructure. Be glad it's not surrounded by barbed wire, ugly anti terrorist vehicle barricades, and protected by armed guards, etc.

As for redevelopment, anyone who has a better idea for this property is welcome to approach Bell HQ with their plans. Make sure you bring a very thick wallet. And make sure you have CSIS's prior approval before you go Wink
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#10
(01-22-2016, 12:05 AM)EdM Wrote: Wires in the ground run from downtown houses and businesses to the CO, it's not really something that's feasible to consider relocating.

(01-22-2016, 08:33 AM)clasher Wrote: There are a lot of cheaper buildings and parking lots around to intensify before this building and all the associated infrastructure is worth moving.

There is no reason why a (smaller) CO couldn't still exist on the property as part of a new development.  If the CO stays on so the wires in the ground would not need to be rerouted (at least not outside the property boundaries).

There are indeed many other properties.  But which ones get developed is really up to the owner of the property.  If Bell is not using a significant portion of this building, they may choose to realize some cash gains from the property rather than hanging onto it (and paying for maintenance and property taxes for unused space).  Of course this is just speculation.
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#11
(01-22-2016, 09:45 AM)ookpik Wrote: AFAIK Bell pays their property taxes, clears snow off their sidewalks and otherwise behaves as a good citizens.

If this is the sum total of our expectations for downtown properties, we really have it good today.  I think these statements are true for more than 95% of the commercial properties in the downtown core.  Including the parking lots.
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#12
(01-22-2016, 10:51 AM)tomh009 Wrote:
(01-22-2016, 09:45 AM)ookpik Wrote: AFAIK Bell pays their property taxes, clears snow off their sidewalks and otherwise behaves as a good citizens.

If this is the sum total of our expectations for downtown properties, we really have it good today.  I think these statements are true for more than 95% of the commercial properties in the downtown core.  Including the parking lots.

WADR why do you think you should have any expectations of other peoples' properties when those people already fulfill their civic obligations? Sure, I'd like every property to be an urban planning award winning architectural marvel. But it's just not going to happen.

I'm not trying to be rude. I'm genuinely curious. 

My own preference is to direct more attention to the 5% (by your reckoning) who aren't fulfilling their basic civic obligations. Let's do that first.

(I suspect that Bell does far more than the minimum by way of donating to local charities, e.g. Let’s Talk, but that's beside the point.)
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#13
(01-22-2016, 12:56 PM)ookpik Wrote: WADR why do you think you should have any expectations of other peoples' properties when those people already fulfill their civic obligations?

Then I guess you believe that we really don't need any further construction downtown, as it would all be on other people's properties.  As long as they clear their sidewalks and pay their taxes, we shouldn't hope for any property owners to improve their properties or contribute to intensification, if I understand your opinions correctly.

That said, such speculation is neither illegal nor against the forum rules, so I don't see why it should be taboo here.
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#14
I think it's a matter of mindset.

Some people look at commercial buildings and see a waste of space. People are only in them for roughly 8 hours 5 days a week. The rest of the time they just sit there, empty. And then there's the waste of time of having everyone need to move from where they live to get to the space where they work for one-third of five-sevenths of the time. And then there's the waste of energy keeping it lit or warm or cool even during the vacant times.

These people will see a building and parking lot like the Bell building's that's mostly empty and think "Hm, there's something better we could be doing here. How about..."

Then there's others who don't. Or who more acutely see the cost actually doing the "something better". Or question whether the "something better" is actually "better". Or see what's there as good enough.

I'm glad to encounter all kinds on this forum.

(( For the record, I'm with tomh009. The building is under-used and it'd be awesome if it could be used at full potential or replaced with something different that would be.

That being said, I'm also with ookpik et al: there's probably nothing to be done without huge cost since the building is tied to infrastructure, and Bell just might not be interested in playing real estate (being too busy raking in record profits).

It is fun to think of "what could be" the same way it's fun to think about "what could have been". ))
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#15
(01-22-2016, 02:17 PM)tomh009 Wrote: Then I guess you believe that we really don't need any further construction downtown, as it would all be on other people's properties.  As long as they clear their sidewalks and pay their taxes, we shouldn't hope for any property owners to improve their properties or contribute to intensification, if I understand your opinions correctly.
You misunderstand my opinions. But that's OK.

Quote:That said, such speculation is neither illegal nor against the forum rules, so I don't see why it should be taboo here.
Absolutely.

All I'm trying to say is that the building is neither an eyesore or a safety hazard, etc. If Bell wants to keep it in that state then that's their business. If only other property owners were so responsible.

I'm also pointing out the strategic importance of that building to the region. For that reason alone I suspect Bell would prefer to keep that facility as low key as possible. But that's just my opinion.
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