A reason to return

Bringing the workplace value proposition to life, Davis Martindale pulls the curtains back on its office of the future

Photo: Davis Martindale senior partner, Paul Panabaker, and managing partner, Rick Santos

THE LAST TIME Davis Martindale moved to a new home, Westmount Shopping Centre was a thriving retail centre, anchored by Sears and Zellers department stores. Its Cineplex movie ­theatres were inside, above a bustling food court — all the more bustling when students from nearby Saunders Secondary School invaded at lunchtime.

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That was 20 years ago, and much has changed. While the “Accountants with Personality” have grown to now employ 110 people, including 15 partners, Westmount has reinvented itself several times in response to changing shopping habits.

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Now managed by McCOR Management, Westmount is home to Westmount Commons, an office ­complex still under construction on the extreme west side of the building. And its newest tenant is Davis Martindale, which moved into 27,000 square feet of high-ceiling, polished-concrete-floor modernity in June.

Although the office development is connected to the rest of the mall, it ­operates separately, with its own entrance and access to skads of parking, both outdoor and underground.

“It was an opportunity to move into the office of the future,” says Davis Martindale partner, Paul Panabaker. “It will help us attract the next generation of talent.”

The firm is in its 52nd year and has demonstrated an ability to adapt from one generation to another. When it moved to 373 Commissioners Road West in 2000, it repurposed a former Big V drug store and built a modern office by the standards of the day. It even allowed for expansion on the site, which happened twice.

Eventually, however, the 17,000 square feet was not enough, and the most recent expansion was 3,000 square feet of off-site space. The move to Westmount brings everyone back under one roof — when people return from Covid home-based protocols — and provides a bright, modern workplace with plenty of opportunity to expand as needed.

It also means the firm no longer owns its building, but Panabaker says the time was right to switch from landlord to tenant.

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The new space could pass for a funky tech-development office. Its hub is an expansive plaza area, replete with ­coffee makers and a variety of seating and meeting options, all bathed in light from floor-to-ceiling windows running along the entire west wall.

The boardroom is home to a work of art: an enormous river resin table, crafted locally by Rustix Studio. The natural-edge wood look is matched with a variety of smaller tables in the plaza.

Pre-Covid plans called for a studio in the new office, but the pandemic ­reinforced the need for a dedicated space to meet with clients via Zoom or to record podcasts. It’s equipped for anything the firm can imagine.

Panabaker expects the office to be operating at something close to normal after Labour Day. Even if that schedule shifts, the firm has demonstrated it can adapt to changing circumstances and continue to thrive. A reason to return Davis Martindale Workspace Christopher Clark

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