‘A really good aura:’ Calgary office tower dog friendly to attract tenants

CALGARY — Man’s best friend is moving on up — to the 16th floor of a downtown Calgary office building.

As the city continues to suffer from a severe economic downturn caused by low oil prices, real estate firms are struggling to fill a glut of empty office buildings.

When Aspen Properties took over The Edison, a mostly empty 30-floor building in the downtown core, it decided to follow businesses in Silicon Valley and make the tower dog friendly.

At Entuitive, a consulting engineering practice on the 16th floor, 14-year-old Jazzy, a Shih Tzu/toy poodle spends most of her day sleeping in a small dog bed next to her owner Nicole Wilson’s desk.

“My dog actually has separation anxiety so between my mom and myself we have to co-ordinate who’s going to take her because she really can’t stay home by herself. She actually makes herself super sick when she’s by herself,” Wilson said.

“Lots of people who are maybe having a rough day, they’ll come by our cubicles and give our dogs a pat and go about their day. It creates a really good aura throughout the office.”

David Leonard brings his rescue dog, one-year-old Riley, to the 45-person office to help socialize her.

“She’s got pretty high energy and it’s good to mentally stimulate her here. She just walks around the office with me and that’s enough to keep her satisfied,” Leonard said.

“She’ll just hang out in the boardroom and do her thing and keep everyone company. It kind of brings a lot of people together.”

Scott Hutcheson, executive chairman of Aspen Properties, said the firm is looking at putting out the doggie welcome mat at other buildings.

“In Silicon Valley, the bulk of the employees are probably under 40 and probably 10 to 15 per cent of the employees bring their dogs to work. It works,” Hutcheson said.

“There’s research done on it. You have three Cs: more creativity, more compassion and more connectivity in a pet-friendly environment.”

There are strict rules in the building, which is just over half full, he said. Badly behaved dogs aren’t allowed and there are separate elevators for people with pets. An outdoor park and pet spa is being developed on the third floor.

Hutcheson said companies need to address whether having dogs is compatible with their workforce.

“Do you have people who are violently allergic to an animal? If that’s the case then … you probably choose that person’s health over the dog,” he said.

“If you decide that this floor has dogs on it, you might move an employee to another floor or another area.”

With a vacancy rate hovering around 27 per cent, other Calgary real estate firms are opening their doors to pets.

Tenants will be permitted to bring their dogs to work at the 12-storey, Canadian Centre run by Artis Real Estate Investment Trust.

“Calgary is going through some challenges economically so there’s a lot of vacancies in buildings … We started to look around as to what people wanted in the marketplace,” said Artis leasing vice-president Bruce Nimmo.

“There are a lot of people who would like to bring their dogs to work who just can’t today.”

While some might welcome a furry colleague, a Calgary allergist says a dog-friendly workplace could cause problems for people with asthma.

Dr. Joel Doctor said improved air filtration and dog-free zones won’t solve the problem because Calgary does not have the same climate as Silicon Valley.

“If a building is very open to the outside, it’s less of a problem,” Doctor said.

“If you look at our buildings in downtown Calgary, where for six or eight months of the year the buildings are tight, tight, tight and there’s a certain amount of air recirculation, it could potentially be more of a problem.”

Just Posted

Women’s marches underway in Canadian cities, a year after Trump inauguration

Women are gathering in dozens of communities across the country today to… Continue reading

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

WATCH: Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month