New university campus for 3,400 students to open at Vancouver House

Nov 19 2019, 11:24 am

When University Canada West‘s (UCW) new campus within the base of Vancouver House opens next year, it will mark the single largest new post-secondary institution expansion in downtown Vancouver in a decade.

UCW is turning 90,000 sq. ft. of commercial space within the two six-storey, triangular-shaped buildings, part of the Vancouver House redevelopment by local developer Westbank, into institutional academic space.

There will be over 3,400 new students within this new campus, making it the anchor tenant of the redevelopment — supporting the promised vibrancy from Vancouver House’s cluster of new retail, restaurants, businesses, and residents that form the so-called Beach District.

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Artistic rendering of the public realm and podium buildings of Vancouver House where University Canada West will be located. (Bjarke Ingels Group / Westbank)

vancouver house westbank

Artistic rendering of the two podium buildings of Vancouver House where University Canada West will be located. (Bjarke Ingels Group / Westbank)

The accredited private institution is opening this new campus as an expansion of its existing facilities in downtown; UCW’s existing space of roughly 30,000 sq. ft. space at the historic London Building at 626 West Pender Street, where 1,800 students are currently enrolled in programs, will not see any reductions.

“This is an extremely important announcement for the evolution of University Canada West, as we continue to deliver quality education while shaping the future of a new community in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown,” said Brock Dykeman, president of UCW, in a statement.

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Concept interior for University Canada West at Vancouver House. (University Canada West)

The business-oriented, teaching-intensive university offers a range of career-focused undergraduate and graduate programs, such as the Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication, Associate of Arts, and Master of Business Administration.

“Our new campus, in the centre of one of the world’s most livable cities, will give students the skills they need with leading MBA and tech-based programs. This is what tomorrow’s leaders are looking for,” said Cyndi McLeod, CEO of Global University Systems Canada, the parent company of UCW.

With Vancouver House’s construction now entering the final stages, work can shift towards outfitting the interior of the podium buildings into a state-of-the-art university space. The new campus should be ready for its first students beginning in July 2020.

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Artistic rendering of Vancouver House’s public realm. (Bjarke Ingels Group / Westbank)

The $750-million redevelopment, designed by Danish architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group, comes well suited with ample amenities and supporting services for students.

Within other portions of the podium bases, there is 85,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space, including London Drugs, Fresh St. Market grocery store, and Momofuku Noodle BarFive permanent container shipping retail units will also be placed at the entrances into the new public spaces created from the project.

Extensive public realm treatment under the bridge and between Vancouver House’s three buildings, turning the space into a pedestrian-oriented and event-friendly space, will activate the area, providing a new southern anchor for Granville Street on the downtown peninsula. Next week, a significant public art centrepiece — a 26-ft-tall spinning chandelier by local artist Rodney Graham — will be installed on the underside of the Granville Street Bridge, hovering high over the new public space and providing a new attraction of interest to the area.

The main architectural feature of the redevelopment, the landmark 493-ft-tall, 49-storey tower, contains 375 market condominiums and 105 market rental homes.

Vancouver House

Artistic rendering of Vancouver House. (Bjarke Ingels Group / Westbank)