Skip to content

Sub-tenants scramble after The Workplace closes suddenly

‘I’ve lost potential clients, I’ve lost notary appointments; we’ve lost so much,’ said one sub-tenant
260224_tc_the_workplace_closed-3
The Workplace is seen at 1191 Lansing Ave. The business closed earlier this month, allegedly without giving any of its sub-tenants notice before locking them out.

The Workplace, a work centre on Lansing Avenue catering to small businesses, has closed, allegedly without giving its sub-tenants any notice before the building owner changed the locks.

Financial advisor Dave Copeland has been working out of the offices since 2017, and learned from a fellow sub-tenant last week that the centre that housed his business had closed.

“On Monday, Feb. 19, I received a phone call from another tenant who rents office space from The Workplace to tell me that the locks have been changed,” he told Sudbury.com.

“The owner of The Workplace, Maxime Caldwell, has ignored emails from me and I haven't seen her in at least five years.”

260224_tc_the_workplace_closed-2
A letter is seen posted to the front door of 1191 Lansing Ave., which was home to The Workplace, a home for small businesses. Tenants say no notice was given before the locks were changed. Tyler Clarke / Sudbury.com

Caldwell owns The Workplace alongside her husband, Jeff, but do not own the building. The Caldwells are the chief tenants at 1191 Lansing Ave. Units 1, 2 and 5. 

The various small business owners who rent office space from The Workplace, either by the hour or monthly, are the building’s sub-tenants.

Sudbury.com phoned Caldwell, but she declined to comment. 

This included her declining to clarify what kind of notice The Workplace’s clients were provided before they were locked out of the building.

“I have really no comment now, at all,” she said.

Raquel Quenneville has operated Confident Direction, a paralegal and notary services business, out of The Workplace for two years before finding herself locked out of her office on Feb. 19.

It wasn’t until the end of the day on Feb. 23 that she was allowed inside to collect items from her office space.

“I’ve lost potential clients, I’ve lost notary appointments; we’ve lost so much,” she told Sudbury.com.

In addition to having to find a new office space and re-brand work material to reflect the new address, she’s worried she will also have to rebuild her reputation.

She’s concerned that clients who see the eviction notice on The Workplace’s front door might attribute wrongdoing to her or other sub-tenants, which was not the case.

Being locked out of her office space for a full work week had its impact on her business’s operations, as well.

Between courts, tribunals and the Law Society of Ontario, she said, “I have a lot of people I have to answer to, and for me to get locked out of my phone messages, mail and client files for a week, it took a really hard hit on us.”

She was left in the lurch and unprepared for court, which she said is a position no legal professional should find themselves in.

“This is no fault of ours,” she added. “We were blindsided and we had no control over this. ... It’s been nothing but a stressful week.”

A written notice of termination by JEMCAD Investments Inc. was found still posted to the front door of 1191 Lansing Ave. when Sudbury.com stopped by on Monday morning. It noted the lease had been terminated due to the tenant’s “failure to cure defaults.”

The notice said that the locks to the premises have been changed, and that entry “for any purpose may be made only with the prior permission of the landlord.” Any attempt to gain entry without prior permission is considered “unlawful trespass, and shall be dealt with accordingly.”

The top of the notice said it was dated Jan. 20, 2024, which Quenneville said leaves her wondering what kind of notice The Workplace’s ownership received from the building owner, and whether they passed on similar notice to their sub-tenants.

The Workplace had no problem accepting February’s rent, Quenneville said.

The date of the notice of termination might also be incorrect, as it cites a notice of default dated Feb. 13, 2024, lower down in the letter.

Sudbury.com emailed the contact person on the notice, Rose Carpino. They deferred comment to lawyer Gianluca De Gasperi Del Pino, who did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

The Workplace opened in 2013, and was described by Sudbury.com at the time as resembling an Apple store in its aesthetic, with various amenities one would find in any office.

The space had two boardrooms and a number of offices, some occupied by clients, and others available to rent. There was also a communal lounge area where professionals could meet and brainstorm over coffee.

According to the eviction notice posted to the door, the space included Units 1 and 2 since Aug. 27, 2013, and expanded to include Unit 5 on May 24, 2019.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.


Comments

Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.




Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.
Read more