OPG says no to Courtice; buys former GM HQ in Oshawa for new corporate head office instead

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Published February 13, 2023 at 3:08 pm

Courtice is not getting the new headquarters for Ontario Power Generation after all – OPG’s new nerve centre is going about five kilometres as the crow flies west instead.

OPG had previously announced plans to construct its new headquarters in the Clarington Energy Park, adjacent to its Darlington Energy Complex. But the company said in a statement they “revisited” the plan when an “economical, sustainable option” of repurposing an existing building became available.

OPG has entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale for the GM Canada building and surrounding lands on McLaughlin Bay in Oshawa, with the property abutting the Clarington border. The building will serve as the company’s new corporate headquarters.

“A lot has changed over the last three years, but what hasn’t changed is our commitment to bringing our team together under one roof to create an even more connected and engaged workforce,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG President and CEO. “Renovating and repurposing a suitable existing building makes sense from both an economic and environmental perspective. We look forward to welcoming employees to our new headquarters in Durham Region.”

Current OPG HQ in Toronto

Located at 1908 Colonel Sam Drive in Oshawa, the approximately 285,000 square feet of office and amenity space will be retrofitted prior to occupancy in late 2024 and will replace OPG’s current headquarters in downtown Toronto.

Then new headquarters is expected to bring more than 2,000 jobs to the area. OPG is still committed to the Energy Park in Courtice, home to the Darlington nuclear plant and the Durham York Energy Centre, and with the new HQ located just a few kilometres away the area is still forecasted to be the centre of energy cluster that should attract additional employment.

With OPG’s advancement of Small Modular Reactors, nuclear generation, isotope production, and other clean energy technologies, the Darlington site has become an international destination and partnerships will be activated, the company said, to “re-envision” the Darlington Energy Complex as a “world-class, clean energy learning, skills training, and innovation centre of excellence.”

Clarington has identified the Courtice Waterfront as a priority in its 2018-2022 Strategic Plan and approved funding for their Waterfront Design Plan last year. During 2022 budget deliberations Council approved an extra $120,000 in funding to “accelerate” the project.

It is unclear how the OPG HQ going to Oshawa affects the waterfront plan.

Meanwhile the Friends of Second Marsh environmental organization presented an “audacious” plan to Oshawa Council in 2022 to turn the GM HQ/now OPG HQ building and grounds into a wetlands interpretive, education and research centre.

The organization is currently fundraising for the project and had been encouraged to approach the new owners of the building about leasing space for the plan.

The headquarters building, which served as GM Canada’s headquarters since its inception in 1989, has been “largely underutilized’ for several years since GM moved its head office staff to the GM Oshawa Technical Centre building on Wentworth Street. The building has been listed for sale for about a year.

No price tag has been attached to the sale but it has been speculated that the building is worth about $50 million and could fetch as much as three times that on the open market.

Aerial view of former GM HQ on Colonel Sam Drive in Oshawa

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