The Vancouver skyline is set to undergo a massive transformation with multiple new projects. Vancouver has already earned a name for itself with regard to urban and city planning courtesy its tall towers sporting magnificent glass facades above low-rise podiums covered by low-rise communities and parks alike.
With density levels increasing in Vancouver, it is steadily foraying beyond the regular development model. These innovations highlight two key features of the realty market in Vancouver. Firstly, luxury housing has spread all throughout the city as a popular pick for buyers and investors and secondly, there is an office real estate boom driven by the progress of the technology sector which has ushered Vancouver into an era where it is now a knowledge-based economy.
How the city skyline is undergoing a huge facelift
Reports estimate 3.96 million sq. ft. under construction in downtown Vancouver in the office space segment. 65% of buildings planned for launch in the years 2022 and 2023 have been leased out already and close to 3/4ths of these buildings have been taken over by leading tech companies. Technology is the biggest growth driver of the Vancouver office market at present including biggies like Amazon who have already secured office spaces in the city.
The influx of these commercial towers will naturally add a special touch to Vancouver’s skyline as per reports. City planners have been working hard to uplift building design and aesthetics and more attention is now being given to public areas and also towards face-lifting communities which are located beyond the central core zone. There are several iconic real estate projects which are taking place as the next level of Vancouver’s movement towards modernization.
Oakridge Center is a major development in this regard and spreads over 28.5 acres on a site of an erstwhile shopping mall. This site is located strategically between the Vancouver airport and downtown core and the project is estimated to require at least $4.6 billion or 6 billion Canadian dollars as costs. This is a partnership project between QuadReal, a real estate division of the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation pension fund and real estate developer Westbank. Upon its completion in the year 2025, the project will have 1.4 million sq. ft. of retail space on offer in tandem with 13 residential real estate towers, 500,000 sq. ft. of office space and a community centre spanning 100,000 sq. ft. There will be a performing arts academy, day care facilities, a library and park spread over 9 acres. The mission here is to convert Oakridge into a major cultural hotspot while transforming the city skyline at the same time. The first phase has already been sold out for this project and offers 709 condominium units which are priced between 900,000 and 6 million Canadian dollars. The Oakridge mall is one of the most successful ventures in Canada and was constructed in the year 1956. QuadReal purchased this shopping mall in the year 2017 and the shopping centre will naturally shift its overall leanings since more consumers are now hooked to e-commerce.
Other key projects in the offing
QuadReal is also playing a part in another iconic mixed-use development in Vancouver. This covers the renovation exercise for the famous Canada Post building. This project will require costs of approximately 900 million Canadian dollars and will come with 1.13 million sq. ft. in terms of office space and close to 185,000 sq. ft. in retail space. It will naturally infuse a fresh look into the eastern periphery of downtown Vancouver. Amazon is the key tenant here and will shift into an office tower covering 416,000 sq. ft. with aims to expand its presence and workforce in Vancouver to 5,000 members by the year 2022.
Several leading technology and software firms are expanding in Vancouver due to its large-scale availability of skilled professionals and comparative affordability in relation to other tech hubs like Seattle and Francisco. Costs of occupancy which covers salaries and rentals are lower by 20% and 60% as compared to Seattle and San Francisco respectively as per reports. The open policies for immigration are another major plus point. Vancouver House is another famous 59 storeyed glass tower in the works which is being developed at the northern end of the well-known Granville Street Bridge which is the gateway for visitors coming to Vancouver from the United States border or the airport.
This mega project owes its design to Bjarke Ingels, the Danish architect and is expected to formally open by the end of this year. This is a mixed-use development costing approximately 750 million Canadian dollars and is built on a 6,000 sq. ft. base adjacent to the bridge ramps before twisting and spreading out into a 14,000 sq. ft. rectangular structure. The iconic shape and design should naturally add a new touch to the city skyline. 375 condos in this inverted building have already been sold out swiftly when they were put on sale some years back. This is another project by Westbank and also covers commercial spaces and 106 rental units. The tower’s design is naturally the core attraction and there will be a major attraction underneath and between the bridge as per the architect of the project. There will be triangular green roofed structures appearing to float between the ramps of the bridge and these will house commercial spaces of this project. An area underneath the bridge will become a venue for public art. Tenants for the commercial space include University Canada West, a private business college, grocery store and Momofuku outlet.
Some other new projects include the 24 storeyed office project, 400 West Georgia which has already attracted eyeballs for its unique design and the collection of glass cubes which are neatly stacked. This is a one of its kind structure like Vancouver House and should definitely add a new spin to the city’s architectural aesthetics and vibe. Oakridge Center has been positioned as a town centre for the municipality, as a major hub which is part of a bigger blueprint for increasing density in the surrounding area, tapping into easy access to the B-Line rapid bus transit network and Canada Line SkyTrain.