A proposed purpose-built tech campus will provide Vancouver’s burgeoning tech hub in Mount Pleasant with a sizeable anchor.
Local firms Westbank and Henriquez Partners Architects have submitted a development application to the City of Vancouver to redevelop two large sites immediately adjacent to the retrofit of the Royal Bank of Canada processing and storage centre at 2015 Main Street, which is also part of the future tech campus.
According to the proposal, there will be an eight-storey building at 102 East 4th Avenue with 28,158 sq. ft. of industrial space, 56,317 sq. ft. of office space, and 56,317 sq. ft. of digital industry space.
Another building at the site at 110 East 5th Avenue will be nine storeys consisting of 22,518 sq. ft. of industrial, 45,025 sq. ft. of general office, and 67,544 sq. ft. of digital industry.
There will also be a combined total of 681 parking spaces in the underground levels of the new buildings.
If approved, the project will be one of Vancouver’s largest spaces purposely built for the city’s growing tech industry. Both buildings have a combined floor area in excess of 340,000 sq. ft., and this does not include 60,000 sq. ft. of space from the renovation of the existing building at the site.
A plaza-like, pedestrian-oriented laneway cutting through the campus will provide the new hub with an interconnected public realm. It will also be a canvas space for murals to acknowledge the area’s reputation for creativity and its role as the host neighbourhood for the annual Vancouver Mural Festival.
During a previous interview with Daily Hive, Westbank founder and CEO Ian Gillespie said the campus will include space for Hootsuite, and the Vancouver tech sweetheart will be just one of the tenants to encourage collaboration and exchange between tech firms.
“These won’t just be buildings housing just Hootsuite,” said Gillespie. “What we want to do is bring a half dozen firms that are in that digital space altogether, and if other landlords do the same you’ll get an exciting critical mass of these companies.”
Hootsuite is already located in the area within two existing buildings, including within an existing office space at at 111 East 5th Avenue on the same city block.
Another tech project Westbank is working on is a proposed 301-ft-tall, 24-storey office tower at 400 West Georgia Street – next to TELUS Garden at the Budget Car & Rental site – in downtown Vancouver. The tower is being designed specifically for major tech companies, possibly even Amazon.
To date, most of Vancouver’s tech companies have settled in existing buildings with retrofits, and investment in new tech buildings have been relatively minimal.