16-storey mass timber office tower approved for Vancouver's Bentall Centre

Jun 21 2022, 3:14 am

A fifth additional office tower has been green lighted for an infill site within the Bentall Centre complex in downtown Vancouver.

Last month, the City of Vancouver’s development permit board (DPB) approved Hudson Pacific Properties’ development permit application to build Burrard Exchange — a 260-ft-tall, 16-storey mass timber office building with a total floor area of 462,000 sq ft.

As the proposal fits within existing zoning policies, the project did not have to pursue rezoning through Vancouver City Council.

This tower will replace Bentall Centre’s Thurlow Street parkade and the attached retail podium.

burrard exchange bentall centre

2022 revised concept artistic rendering of the Burrard Exchange tower at Bentall Centre. (Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates/Adamson Associates Architects/Hudson Pacific Properties)

burrard exchange bentall centre

2022 revised concept artistic rendering of the Burrard Exchange tower at Bentall Centre. (Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates/Adamson Associates Architects/Hudson Pacific Properties)

The four original towers that comprise Bentall Centre were constructed between 1969 and 1981. The fifth tower will be fully integrated into the original complex, resulting in a net floor area increase of 322,000 sq ft — growing the complex’s total floor area from just over two million sq ft to 2.34 million sq ft. This increases Bentall Centre’s floor area ratio density to a floor area that is 10.87 times larger than the size of the lot.

Burrard Exchange will offer premium AAA-calibre office space, with large floor plates reaching up to 30,000 sq ft — suitable for the unique needs of tech companies and other larger firms.

There will also be 40,000 sq ft of ground-level retail/restaurant uses, including a one-storey pavilion, along with an adjacent large public plaza. Two underground levels will provide 200 vehicle parking stalls, 700 secured bike parking spaces, and a connection to the existing retail concourse and SkyTrain Burrard Station.

The design firm for Burrard Exchange is New York City-based Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates — perhaps best known for 5 World Trade Centre in New York City and International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong — and the local architect of record is Adamson Associates.

burrard exchange bentall centre

2022 revised concept artistic rendering of the Burrard Exchange tower at Bentall Centre. (Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates/Adamson Associates Architects/Hudson Pacific Properties)

burrard exchange bentall centre

2022 revised concept artistic rendering of the Burrard Exchange tower at Bentall Centre. (Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates/Adamson Associates Architects/Hudson Pacific Properties)

According to the DPB meeting minutes, Hudson Pacific told the board this new tower and various other major investments being made to renew Bentall Centre are all part of their long-term goal of attracting “individuals spanning from office workers, tourists, and locals back into this area.”

A mix of indoor and outdoor retail, including restaurants, will pull people into the building and the core of the Bentall Centre site, which will see significant new public realm improvements — far beyond what has already been performed, particularly on the Dunsmuir Street side of the complex.

“Some key focus areas are creating a halo affect on the rest of the campus, reducing carbon production, increasing the connectivity on the site, bringing the retail up to grade as possible, and continuing the pivot of experiential retail,” reads the minutes.

Hudson Pacific is aiming to attract about 8,000 to 10,000 new workers to Bentall Centre through the various additions and renovations.

burrard exchange tower bentall centre

Artistic rendering of Burrard Exchange tower at Bentall Centre. (Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates/Adamson Associates Architects/Hudson Pacific Properties)

burrard exchange tower bentall centre

Artistic rendering of Burrard Exchange tower at Bentall Centre. (Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates/Adamson Associates Architects/Hudson Pacific Properties)

In September 2021, when the application was first submitted, Hudson Pacific indicated pre-construction work for Burrard Exchange could begin in 2022, and major construction could follow as early as 2023. This timeline depends on external factors, such as city approval and local office market conditions. As of early 2022, downtown Vancouver continues to hold the lowest office vacancy rate amongst major city centres in North America, according to CBRE.

In its recently released financial results report for the first quarter of 2022, Hudson Pacific highlights the Bank of Montreal (BMO) will be expanding their office footprint in Bentall Centre by about 65,000 sq ft to 105,000 sq ft through a renewed 11-year lease that extends to 2035.

Just across the laneway from the future site of Burrard Exchange, Microsoft is set to have a major presence in the 33-storey B6 office tower, which is currently under construction and set for completion in 2023. B6 will have 562,000 sq ft of premium AAA-calibre office space, with Microsoft set to occupy at least 400,000 sq ft across about 20 floors. B6 is owned separately by BentallGreenOak, a previous owner of Bentall Centre.

burrard exchange tower bentall centre

The Thurlow Street parkade of Bentall Centre will be redeveloped into the Burrard Exchange tower. (Daily Hive/Google Maps)

burrard exchange tower bentall centre

The Thurlow Street parkade of Bentall Centre will be redeveloped into the Burrard Exchange tower. (Google Maps)

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Bentall Centre office complex in downtown Vancouver. (Hudson Pacific Properties)

Parasol Dunsmuir Patio Bentall Centre

Parasol LED mushroom fixtures at the new Dunsmuir Patio at Bentall Centre. (Mike Seehagel/Tangible Interaction)

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