This is the first Vancouver office tower to begin construction during COVID

As another sign of the continued strong confidence in Vancouver’s office market over the long term, despite the ongoing effects of the pandemic, construction will officially begin this week on Reliance Properties and Hines’ 1166 West Pender Street office tower in downtown’s Central Business District.

The process begins with demolishing the 1974-built, 15-storey building on the property, which was previously the longtime local office of Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). In 2017, the federal office relocated to a new office building at 468 Terminal Avenue in the False Creek Flats.

This marks the first office tower to begin construction in downtown Vancouver since the pandemic began in March 2020, and introduced a work-from-home arrangement for many office-based employers.

July 2020 artistic rendering of 1166 West Pender Street, Vancouver. (Hariri Pontarini Architects/Reliance Properties)

The tower will have 32 stores, containing a total of 344,000 sq ft of premium AAA-caliber office space with 12,000 sq ft office floor plates. There will be landscaped outdoor terraces on the upper floors of the tower, and tenants will have access to common amenities such as modular conference rooms, a professionally-managed co-working floor operated by Hines SQ, and a club-quality fitness gym.

Superior air filtration will be one of the key health safety and comfort features of the building. Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, the building is targeting WELL, LEED Gold, and WiredScore Platinum certifications.

1166 west pender street vancouver

July 2020 artistic rendering of 1166 West Pender Street, Vancouver. (Hariri Pontarini Architects/Reliance Properties)

“With continued growth of the tech sector in Vancouver and steady demand for quality office space, we are confidently proceeding with construction,” said Jon Stovell, president and CEO of Reliance Properties.

“We designed 1166 West Pender to be an employee-centric building because we know the office of the future must be a destination to enable companies to effectively recruit and retain high quality talent.”

For this project, Vancouver-based Reliance Properties has partnered with Houston-based international real estate and investment firm Hines, which is their first project in the city.

The general construction contractor will be EllisDon. The rezoning for the tower was approved by Vancouver City Council in July 2019.

1166 west pender street vancouver

July 2020 artistic rendering of 1166 West Pender Street, Vancouver. (Hariri Pontarini Architects/Reliance Properties)

Last month, construction reached completion on Deloitte Summit — the first major office building that started construction before COVID-19 to reach completion during the pandemic. The 24-storey tower of stacked cubes contains 355,000 sq ft of space.

Immediately south of 1166 West Pender Street, just across the laneway, construction is expected to reach completion later in 2022 on The Stack office tower at 1133 Melville Street. The 530-tall, 36-storey office tower will be the new tallest office building in Metro Vancouver.

Also reaching completion later this year are the 33-storey Vancouver Center II office tower at 753 Seymour Street, containing 371,000 sq ft of space.

Additionally, the southern half of The Post — the redevelopment of the former Canada Post building in downtown — will reach completion by the end of 2022. Upon the completion of the rest of The Post in 2024, the northern half, the city block-sized complex will have 1.3 million sq ft of office and retail space, with the entirety of the office component leased to Amazon.

According to CBRE, as of the end of 2021, downtown Vancouver’s office vacancy rate shrunk for the first time during the pandemic. The vacancy of 7.2% is the lowest amongst major city centers in North America.

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