With global and local technology companies struggling to find office space in downtown Vancouver to accommodate their growth, the first major office building scheduled to complete in the next cycle of commercial development officially broke ground today. Opening in early 2020, The Offices at Burrard Place is the first office complex Reliance Properties is building from the ground up in its 50-year history. A hot market prompted Reliance to proceed without pre-leasing because, it says, office space can’t be built fast enough to meet demand.
“Vancouver wasn’t shortlisted for Amazon’s second headquarters, but the tech giant leased an additional 150,000 square feet of office space and is waiting for another large piece,” said Jon Stovell, president and CEO of Reliance Properties, a company recognized for award-winning heritage rehabilitation and expansion of office buildings. “Space to meet the growth projections of large companies currently doesn’t exist in Vancouver. This is an era when developers like Reliance can build offices without any prelease agreements.”
Burrard Place by Reliance Properties. Image via Colliers
According to Colliers International, downtown Vancouver’s office vacancy is the second tightest in North America at 5.2 per cent, with rents increasing as much as 20 per cent in the past year and expected to climb. “Large companies have an extremely limited number of options. An average tenant in the downtown core looks for approximately 5,000 to 6,000 square feet of office space, but today’s demand is driven by tenants looking for multiple floors, with some needing as much as 150,000 square feet,” said Maury Dubuque, Managing Director of Colliers Vancouver, the brokerage leasing The Offices at Burrard Place.
The 13-storey office is the last commercial building designed by the late world-renowned architect Bing Thom (Bing Thom Architects is now known as Revery Architecture). It is part of the $500 million Burrard Place, which at one million square feet is the largest development currently underway in downtown. The development will include two residential high-rises – one of them to be Vancouver’s third tallest building. The office qualifies as AAA, the most prestigious office classification as determined by location, quality, and surrounding amenities. Office tenants will also have access to 30,000 square feet of luxury amenities at the 60-storey residential building, One Burrard Place.
Burrard Place’s prominent location just off the newly-enhanced Burrard Bridge and transit corridor will help define the southern gateway to downtown Vancouver.
“Downtown South is the most rapidly growing commercial and residential community in downtown,” said Acting Mayor of Vancouver Raymond Louie. “The Burrard Place office building brings job space close to homes and amenities, which is the kind of smart growth that defines forward-thinking cities like Vancouver. With so much confidence in our economy, it is no surprise that major projects like this one are being built.”
The Vancouver Economic Commission says the city is attractive due to strong employment figures, welcoming immigration policies, and a highly educated work force. Vancouver has approximately 75,000 tech workers with the industry growing six per cent per year.
“With an increasing number of multinational corporations and homegrown start-ups choosing to expand and scale up in Vancouver – and with thousands of tech-related seats added to post-secondary institutions across the province – the city’s knowledge-based economy is set to continue growing at an accelerated pace,” said Ian McKay, CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission. “The Burrard Place development is the investment community’s vote of confidence in Vancouver’s future.”
“With a premier location, exceptional design, and world-class amenities, The Offices at Burrard Place will give tenants a competitive advantage in finding and retaining highly sought-after professionals,” said Stovell. “People can live and work in a walkable neighbourhood surrounded by conveniences and amenities. Burrard Place takes the burden off companies to build in-office amenities.”