GWL Realty Advisors’ 33-storey office tower signals eastward shift of Vancouver’s core business district; Launches amid heightened demand for downtown office space

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GWL Realty Advisors has officially broken ground on Vancouver Centre II, a 33-storey AAA office tower in downtown Vancouver. (CNW Group/GWL Realty Advisors)

GWL Realty Advisors has broken ground on Vancouver Centre II, a 33-store office tower on the site of a former parkade at 753 Seymour St.

The developer is building the project on behalf of the project owners: The Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, the Great-West Life Real Estate Fund, and London Life Real Estate Fund.

Vancouver Centre II is the first major project to commence construction in downtown Vancouver’s next cycle of commercial office development and is launching amid heightened demand for office space in the downtown core. With these compelling conditions at play, GWL Realty Advisors is proceeding with construction on a speculative basis. The building is slated to open in summer 2021.

“With its premier location and exceptional design, we expect that Vancouver Centre II will attract considerable market interest,” says GWL Realty Advisors president Paul Finkbeiner.

“The building has been designed for forward-thinking, industry-leading firms that want to attract top talent, nurture innovation, and deliver results. We’re targeting WELL Certification and LEED Platinum standard, which will make VCII one of the healthiest and most sustainable buildings in the city.”

Vancouver Centre II is the next phase of the Vancouver Centre complex, which includes Scotia Tower (650 West Georgia) and Vancouver Centre Mall.

“Vancouver Centre II will play a major role in facilitating our city’s green economic growth by providing much needed office space as companies of all sizes and industries from all over the world look to set up shop in downtown Vancouver,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson.

“As Vancouver’s innovation economy booms, Vancouver Centre II is sure to be a new hub for our booming local tech sector and a great addition to the downtown core, close to the city’s best amenities and transit.”

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GWL Realty Advisors officially begin construction of Vancouver Centre II. Left-right: James Midwinter, GWL Realty Advisors; Paul Finkbeiner, GWL Realty Advisors; Nick MacRae, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan. (CNW Group/GWL Realty Advisors)

The launch of Vancouver Centre II represents the eastward shift of the city’s core business district. The area is quickly becoming the epicentre of Vancouver’s tech community and is already home to several global tech giants. Growing interest in Vancouver as a tech hub is increasing the demand for office space.

In its most recent market report (September 2017), Colliers International notes that downtown Vancouver vacancy rates are currently at 5.1 per cent compared with 6.9 per cent at the same point in 2016. Colliers also notes that technology, advertising, media, and information firms now account for 47.8 per cent of all current office space demand in the downtown core.

Designed by Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership, Vancouver Centre II’s contemporary architecture is defined by sculptural form and clear glazing. A lobby atrium will connect Vancouver Centre II and Scotia Tower.

For GWL Realty Advisors, Vancouver Centre II is part of $2 billion in office, industrial, mixed-use, and multi-residential projects that it has planned or underway across Canada. The news release did not provide details of the specific value of the Seymour St. project. The company says it has $6 billion in completed, active, and pre-development projects. GWL Realty Advisors is recognized as a Green Star leader and has recently vaulted to

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