Electronic Arts to open massive expansion office in Vancouver's False Creek Flats

Jul 31 2021, 11:11 am

The former MEC headquarters building in Vancouver’s False Creek Flats will become a major expansion office of Electronic Arts (EA).

The global video gaming giant has leased the entire four-storey, 120,000 sq ft office building at 1077 Great Northern Way, which was acquired earlier this year by PCI Developments and Low Tide Properties as an addition to their South Flatz office portfolio.

“We’re excited to have this great new footprint, with amazing amenities for our team, to add to our flagship Burnaby studio as we continue to invest in our teams and leadership in the market,” said Jon Lutz, vice president of strategy, operations, and finance for EA Canada, in a statement.

“The support to health and wellness that are present at the new location not only helps EA attract and retain great talent, but it provides staff with an environment in which they can do their best work.”

1077 Great Northern Way Vancouver South Flatz MEC

The newest South Flatz building (the former MEC headquarters) at 1077 Great Northern Way, Vancouver. (Low Tide Properties/PCI Developments)

1077 Great Northern Way Vancouver South Flatz MEC

The newest South Flatz building (the former MEC headquarters) at 1077 Great Northern Way, Vancouver. (Low Tide Properties/PCI Developments)

1077 Great Northern Way Vancouver South Flatz MEC

The newest South Flatz building (the former MEC headquarters) at 1077 Great Northern Way, Vancouver. (Low Tide Properties/PCI Developments)

The building was completed in 2014 for MEC’s needs, with interior workspaces organized around a central atrium with a main staircase. Workers also have access to a large rooftop amenity space with panoramic views of the mountains.

This is Vancouver’s first modern large-scale mass timber office building, it carries a LEED Platinum green building certification, and it won a number of architectural and green design excellence awards. As well, it uses smart lighting and air-control systems, and the design maximizes natural light. Overall, the structure is 70% more energy efficient than a conventional office building.

EA has indicated the location is strategically near other creative technology companies and educational facilities in the False Creek Flats area, including Emily Carr University of Art and Design (ECUAD), and the Centre for Digital Media.

The location is also conveniently near SkyTrain, with VCC-Clark Station located just one block to the east.

1077 Great Northern Way Vancouver South Flatz MEC

The newest South Flatz building (the former MEC headquarters) at 1077 Great Northern Way, Vancouver. (Low Tide Properties/PCI Developments)

1077 Great Northern Way Vancouver South Flatz MEC

The newest South Flatz building (the former MEC headquarters) at 1077 Great Northern Way, Vancouver. (Low Tide Properties/PCI Developments)

MEC headquarters 1077 Great Northern Way Vancouver

MEC Head Office at 1077 Great Northern Way, Vancouver. (Proscenium Architecture)

EA states it has no formal date to have its employees begin to take up occupancy at the Vancouver building, but a phased move-in process is expected to start in Spring 2022.

The company’s Canadian corporate headquarters will remain at the Burnaby campus, which is also set for a major expansion. Two new office buildings will be constructed to increase the floor area of the campus by 66% — an additional 297,000 sq ft to an expanded size of about 750,000 sq ft. The Burnaby campus currently employs about 1,300 people.

EA previously had an office space in the top four levels of the Pricewaterhouse Coopers office building near Canada Place in downtown Vancouver, until 2009 when it moved employees into the Burnaby campus.

1077 Great Northern Way Vancouver South Flatz MEC

The newest South Flatz building (the former MEC headquarters) at 1077 Great Northern Way, Vancouver. (Low Tide Properties/PCI Developments)

EA Electronic Arts 3700 Gilmore Way Burnaby

Artistic rendering of the EA Burnaby campus expansion at 3700 Gilmore Way, Burnaby. (DIALOG/Electronic Arts)

For the next new construction phase of South Flatz, the developers have plans to build two new interconnected office buildings at 901 Great Northern Way, immediately to the west of the future EA office. The plan is to construct a seven-storey and 11-storey building with a combined total area of about 344,000 sq ft of office space, also designed for large tech companies.

South Flatz’s first phase was the 2018 completion of 565 Great Northern Way, next to ECUAD, with 160,000 sq ft over seven storeys. Its tenants include Samsung, Finning International, Spaces Co-Working, Blackbird Interactive, and Langara College’s digital arts school.

South Flatz’s second phase renovated the 2000-built former QLT building at 887 Great Northern Way, which has about 164,000 sq ft of office space. Renovations on the former laboratory research building reached completion in 2019.

The downsized, reorganized MEC organization relocated its headquarters office to Unit 101 within 887 Great Northern Way.

At full buildout, excluding the unplanned acquisition of the MEC building, South Flatz will have approximately two million sq ft of office space in up to six mid-rise buildings across multiple sites along Great Northern Way. The area is already served well by public transit, with VCC-Clark Station just east of the former MEC building, and the future Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station to the west of ECUAD and South Flatz’s first phase.

Lululemon is also planning to build a new headquarters in the area — 593,400 sq ft of office space within a 13-storey tower at 1980 Foley Street, immediately west of the QLT building.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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