Vancouver is about to enter a new office building boom, and a significant new tower acting as an expansion of the Vancouver Centre complex in the Central Business District will kickstart the building cycle.
Construction officially commences this morning on Vancouver Centre II, a 33-storey, 403-ft-tall AAA office tower at 753 Seymour Street – the site of a multi-storey parkade, immediately adjacent to Scotia Tower and directly across the street from TELUS Garden.
When complete in the summer of 2021, it will add 371,000 sq. ft. of much-needed office space to downtown Vancouver, effectively helping address some of the city’s office space shortage issues.
Vancouver will have the second-lowest office vacancy rate in the western hemisphere by 2019, just behind Toronto’s office market, based on a recent report by Cushman & Wakefield.
The building has flexible floor plans purposely designed for the city’s rapidly growing tech industry, and its developer is targeting a LEED Platinum environmental standard – the highest green building rating.
“Vancouver Centre II will play a major role in facilitating our city’s green economic growth by providing much needed office space as companies of all sizes and industries from all over the world look to set up shop in downtown Vancouver,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement.
The project’s rezoning application was approved by Vancouver City Council last year, after a revised design was submitted to the municipal government for consideration.
“As Vancouver’s innovation economy booms, Vancouver Centre II is sure to be a new hub for our booming local tech sector and a great addition to the downtown core, close to the city’s best amenities and transit.”
Moreover, just like the recently-built TELUS Garden, the tower expands the Central Business District eastward towards Northeast False Creek and the Downtown Eastside.
A number of proposed and planned projects will also have the same effect on the precinct, including the redevelopments of the Hudson’s Bay parkade, the old Canada Post building, the 24-storey ‘green lamp’ office tower at the site of Budget Car & Rental, and the two office towers that will share the site of the new home of the Vancouver Art Gallery at Larwill Park.
The new Vancouver Centre tower is being developed by GWL Realty Advisors on behalf of Vancouver Centre’s ownership comprised of the Healthare of Ontario Pension Plan, Great-West Life Real Estate Fund, and London Life Real Estate Fund.
Its contemporary architecture – with a sculptural form and clear glazing – is designed by local architectural firm Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership.
A large, light-filled lobby atrium will connect Vancouver Centre II and Scotia Tower.
As well, there will also be a direct underground connection to the subterranean path that forms Vancouver Centre Mall, which of course leads to Pacific Centre, Hudson’s Bay, and two SkyTrain stations – Granville Station on the Expo Line and Vancouver City Centre on the Canada Line.
Seven underground levels will contain 586 parking stalls for the building’s tenants.
Employees working in the building will have access to ample high-calibre amenities, such as the skyline rooftop deck on the 29th floor, a private state-of-the-art fitness facility and yoga studio with change rooms and showers, and end-of-trip cycling facilities.
Additionally, the project has a strong focus on creating office spaces that improve the fitness, mood, comfort, and performance of the building’s employees.
The developer has taken one step further by registering the tower with the International WELL Building Institute to achieve a WELL V1 certification for the organization’s core and shell building rating system. This takes into account the aspects of design that have an impact on employee health and wellness, including building structure, window locations, glazing type, building proportions, interior finishes, ventilation, and lighting systems.
At this time, anchor office tenants have not been announced.