The Federal Government of Canada began the construction of the Place du Portage complex in 1970 in an effort to promote a proportional representation of its workforce throughout the National Capital Area. Located in the City of Gatineau (sector Hull) downtown core, the complex is comprised of four Crown-owned office buildings providing approximately 232,000 square meters of retail/office rentable areas plus an additional 14,963 square meters of basement utility/storage spaces to various Federal Government Departments.
Portage III was constructed between 1973 and 1978 at a cost of $88 million dollars. Set in a line along the riverfront, giving the complex its distinctive skyline from the Ottawa side, the facility consists of six towers, a commercial area, two basement levels, a tri-level underground parking garage (known as the Laurier-Taché Garage) that may accommodate 1,670 vehicles and Place d’Acceuil.
The towers are grouped into three cores, which are linked by a three-story bridge over Maisonneuve Boulevard (referred to as Tower D and E). Tower A has fifteen and eighteen floors, Tower B has ten and twelve floors, Tower C has nine and twelve floors and Tower D and E have two and three floors respectively. The office area totals 106,434 square meters of Gross Leasable Area (GLA) and the parking garage and storage areas totals 42,907 square meters. Nine retail tenants occupy the commercial area. The number of building occupants is estimated at 4,500.
Place d’Acceuil (an area totalling 4,310 square meters) is the focal point of the pedestrian and vehicular systems, it serves as the facility’s bus terminal and is located on the east and west side of Maisonneuve Boulevard. Place Aubry, located between Portage III and IV, consists of a hard surfaced landscaped park leading to Promenade du Portage. Both of the latter areas form part of Portage III. The building also houses the heating plant servicing the entire Portage complex for heating and cooling.
Portage III is considered to be, as noted in its 2008 Asset Management Plan, an upgraded older building with a high occupancy rate situated in a prime location. It is viewed to be a Class B+ building accommodating and serves as the headquarters for PSPC and Government Services Canada (PSPC), the principal tenant.
Following a major space optimization project completed in 1999/2000, PSPC ceased the opportunity to consolidate its operations at Portage III by gradually moving staff from other National Capital Area buildings into optimized office space.
In September 1996, PSPC entered into a Federal Building Initiative (FBI) aiming at energy savings. A contract was given to MCW through a process of request for proposals. The contract had a duration extending 8 years beyond February 1998. In essence, MCW provides engineering, project management services and funding for the project, while PSPC progressively reimburses their capital investment from the savings realized. Some of the projects initiated through this agreement are lighting retrofit completed in March 1997 and mechanical upgrades completed in October 2000. In addition, in March 2002, all the toilets (300) were replaced by MCW in collaboration with the contract.
The occupants are very satisfied of the operational performance of the building, which considered very well. The major renovation of the Laurier Taché garage was completed and reopened in the summer of 2008 after 4 years of renovation work. For the time being, a decision was taken for not reopening the daily parking as per the recommendation of the last TRA done in 2008. This decision could be revoke if all the TRA recommendations regarding the garage infrastructure are implemented to enhance the security. This PSPC decision is influenced by security, income and tenant accessibility needs.
In 1999/2000, the tower A and B lobby, located on level 0, were upgraded as part of PSPC’s celebration of the Millennium. Tower C lobby was upgraded in March 2002. The new ceiling and lighting significantly improved the appearance.
The Food Court located on commercial level between Tower B and C was totally renovated in July 2007 and re-open in the summer of 2008. This provided a more accessible, as well as a more inviting environment, for all occupants. The Food Court is smoke-free and very popular.
In 2005, turnstiles were installed at tower A, B and C elevator lobbies to secure and restrict access to the tenant space throughout the complex.
During the 2008-2009 fiscal year, Tower C underwent a floor tile replacement programme. An innovated design was introduce to link the hallway between Portage IV and the Place du Centre commercial mall. The first responses from the occupant reveal an inviting feeling from the color of the tiles. This programme has been continued in Tower A and B over the next two fiscal years The first responses from the occupant reveal an inviting feeling from the color of the tiles. This programme has been continued in Tower A and B over the next two fiscal years.