Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), the iconic outdoor retailer that was founded here in 1971, marks another chapter in its history this week as work starts on MEC’s new head office in False Creek Flats, at 1077 Great Northern Way.
Upon its completion, the 112,000-square-foot energy efficient facility that is designed to maximize daylight and fresh air inside, collect and manage rain water; and made of BC structural timbers, floor and wall panels – will stand as a landmark green development that embodies MEC’s sustainability values and its support for active outdoor lifestyles in Canada.
“Mountain Equipment Co-op is a great local and national success story, and it’s fantastic to see MEC continue its growth from a new landmark head office in Vancouver,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “MEC’s new expanded head office is another big boost for Vancouver’s False Creek Flats, creating new green jobs in a district that is emerging as a hub for innovation and sustainable enterprise.”
The new head office will replace an existing facility in South False Creek that MEC has largely outgrown. Approximately 300 people will work at the new location when it opens in summer 2014.
“MEC’s business is to support our members to lead active outdoor lifestyles, and that mission extends to our employees,” said CFO Sandy Treagus. “Providing employees with a physical workplace that is fun, healthy and inspiring increases their engagement and willingness to serve our members.“
“At the same time, we are proud to add to our growing portfolio of green buildings in Canada with a unique office facility that demonstrates real sustainability leadership and will contribute to the ongoing renewal of False Creek Flats.”
The new head office is designed to exceed the city’s requirement that commercial developments achieve LEED® Gold Certification. It is projected to be 70 per cent more energy efficient than conventional buildings.
The two-acre site (on the former Albion Fisheries property) is situated near the VCC-Clark Skytrain Station, across from China Creek Park along the designated route for the Central Valley Greenway. The new Centre for Digital Media and the future campus of Emily Carr University are just east of the MEC site.
Employee amenities include a room for 128 bikes, shower and change facilities, a yoga studio, an indoor climbing wall as well as dedicated spaces to socialize and relax.
Approximately 225 people working in a number of capacities – from product design, prototyping and sourcing, to retail operations, web development, communications and marketing, human resources and finance – are employed at MEC’s existing head office. These functions will transfer to the new facility as will MEC’s service centre personnel.
Last June, MEC opened its new North Vancouver store, the latest in a portfolio of seven purpose-built retail green buildings within Canada.
MEC’s new head office is designed by Proscenium Architecture and Interiors. The general contractor for the project is Ventana Construction Corporation. The two firms also provided design and construction expertise to MEC’s North Vancouver store.