07/11/2013 04:39 EDT | Updated 09/10/2013 05:12 EDT

Rio Tinto Alcan moving global headquarters in Montreal to new tower

MONTREAL - Rio Tinto Alcan is relocating its global aluminum headquarters in to a new 26-storey office tower being built by Cadillac Fairview next to the Bell Centre where the Montreal Canadiens play.

About 800 employees from the division of mining giant Rio Tinto and its iron ore and other operations in Montreal will fill the top eight floors of the Deloitte Tower.

The company will occupy 190,000 square feet of space in the fall of 2015. That's about 10,000 square feet larger than Alcan's existing downtown campus called Maison Alcan, a collection of older buildings along Sherbrooke Street near the fine arts museum.

The miner had eyed another location but a company spokeswoman said the Deloitte tower was selected following a detailed review of options.

"We had to do all the analysis and see what was the best option for us," said Claudine Gagnon.

The new building will have LEED platinum rating and feature a reflecting pool and outdoor skating rink. The lobby will have a 19th Century railroad decor to reflect its location adjacent to the heritage-designated Windsor Station.

Alcan, which was acquired by Rio Tinto in 2007 for US$38.1 billion, established its head office in downtown Montreal more than 80 years ago.

The company also confirmed Thursday that its current headquarters has been sold, but it refused to disclose the selling price or identify the buyer who will unveil his plans for the site.

Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte has been rumoured to be interested in the prime location, which includes an auditorium, for an entertainment complex. A Cirque spokeswoman declined to comment "at this time."

Rio Tinto has been trying to shed costs by selling assets since the deal. It has written down about US$30 billion of the purchase price following a sharp decrease in aluminum prices.

Gagnon wouldn't say how much money will be saved by moving to the leased premises.

"For sure it's the most cost-effective choice," she said.

The decision to maintain Rio Tinto Alcan's global headquarters in Montreal honours a commitment made to the provincial government when Rio Tinto bought Alcan.

Rio Tinto will be the largest tenant in the new tower.

Cadillac Fairview, the real estate arm of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, plans to invest up to $2 billion over the next 15 years to transform the area surrounding the Bell Centre, including $200 million to build the Deloitte Tower.

The tower is Montreal's first new privately owned and financed commercial office tower to be built in more than 20 years.