Jarring progress has been made on the redevelopment of the former Canada Post building in downtown Vancouver.
The city block-sized building – once a long-time industrial facility for regional mail and package delivery and more recently a make-shift film production studio – has been gutted and hollowed to its core for its conversion and expansion into a mixed-use commercial complex.
Construction only began last fall, and the project is now speeding away with the pace of progress fairly evident.
June 10, 2019 construction progress:
It’s an impressive feat of engineering, with industrial-strength rigid steel and support columns now completely exposed. Later stages of construction will add additional columns to enable the vertical rise of the building on the north and south ends, adding two office towers onto the existing structure.
As of early this week, floor plates have been hollowed out on both end of the building, an indicator of the footprint of the cores of the new towers.
By retaining and reincorporating much of the existing structure for new uses, the redevelopment has eliminated the need for demolition, which would have resulted in thousands of truck trips and significant emissions from both transportation and the new concrete and steel required for a completely new structure.
The heritage podium will be largely retained and restored as an integral component of the project, including granite walls on the street front and the six-metre-tall cast-aluminum Canada coasts of arms perched up high on the building’s West Georgia Street facade.
But glass windows on the ground level along West Georgia Street have been completely knocked out for a new retail and restaurant space design that opens up to a large plaza space on the site’s former ground-level parking.
When fully complete in 2023, the redevelopment will entail 1.13 million sq. ft. of office space, with at least 416,000 sq. ft. dedicated to Amazon for its expansion into the city.
The tenants for the remaining office spaces have not been announced at this time, however, Amazon has options to this space. But much of the remaining office space could be absorbed by Amazon, given that the company has publicly stated Vancouver is one of the cities that will benefit from the company’s decision to cancel HQ2 in New York City.
Below the upper office levels will be 185,000 sq. ft. of retail space, including a mall-like retail concourse and a 50,000-sq-ft Loblaws City Market flagship grocery store. Artistic renderings of the design show structural steel beams will be fully exposed and painted grey within this common space in the retail section of the redevelopment.
The entire complex will employ over 7,000 people, including at least 3,000 jobs from Amazon. It is the single largest office building in the city.
Parking will be located within underground levels and within the upper podium levels — the floors between the retail levels and the office towers.
QuadReal Property Group is the developer behind the project, and Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership is the architect.