An office building in downtown Vancouver that was the longtime regional hub of the federal government’s Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) could be demolished and replaced with a new striking office tower.
Preliminary redevelopment plans by local developer Reliance Properties for 1166 West Pender Street in downtown Vancouver call for a new 380-ft-tall office tower with 31 storeys. It would replace the 11-storey, 151,000-sq-ft office tower that has been occupying the site since 1974.
The building has been experiencing major vacancies ever since CRA relocated its office to the Containers office building at 468 Terminal Street in the False Creek Flats in March 2017.
The replacement tower could potentially entail about 359,000 sq. ft. of office space, plus 4,000 sq. ft. of ground-floor retail space, and to support the employment density there would be 254 underground parking stalls and 26 electric charging stations.
The resulting floor space ratio density on the 18,630-sq-ft property is 19.47 times the size of the proposed development lot.
The preliminary architectural concept by Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini Architects and Vancouver-based IBI Group Architects envisions a slender, sculptural, irregular-shaped design with softened corners.
In particular, the upper floors of the building facing West Pender Street are carved to reduce the shadowing of Harbour Green Park located two blocks north, which is mandated by a City policy that does not permit buildings to shadow city parks.
In fact, the building’s potential height is drastically affected by the same policy, even though another City policy – the General Policy for Higher Buildings – allows building heights of up to 550 ft on the site. As a result, the tower’s design as currently proposed is considerably shorter than Oxford Properties’ approved 550-ft-tall, 34-storey ‘stacked box’ office tower at 1133 Melville Street, even though it is located immediately across the site’s laneway.
This project is currently in the pre-application stage; a formal rezoning application will be submitted later this summer, and a public hearing for a rezoning decision is aimed for spring 2019.
Developers are pushing their office projects forward based on the market forecast of a considerable office space shortage in the city for the foreseeable future. It is estimated that an additional three to five million sq. ft. of office space beyond what is permitted by current zoning will need to be built between now and 2031 in order to properly respond to office demand.
Vancouver’s rapidly expanding tech industry has led to a shortage in office space in the city, with office vacancy rates in the downtown area now standing at 5.2%. It is the second lowest rate in the continent, according to Colliers International.