New office tower in downtown Vancouver
Credit: Reliance Properties

A joint effort by developer Reliance Properties and real estate firm Hines, 1166 West Pender will feature collaboration spaces, shared amenities and nine unshaded terraces

The former Canada Revenue Agency building in downtown Vancouver is levelling up from 15 storeys.

The first major post-pandemic construction project in the city’s financial district, the 1166 West Pender building had been occupied by a single tenant since 1968. Now it’s transforming into a 32-storey office tower with 344,000 square feet of space, through a joint effort by Vancouver developer Reliance Properties and global real estate firm Hines

The new blueprint reflects a growing interest in workplace wellness. Besides access points for cyclists and ride-hailing vehicles, there are nine shade-free terraces with vegetation and stellar views, plus a full floor dedicated to shared amenities (including a gym, a lounge, modular conference facilities and social engagement spaces).

“The outdoor terraces will be a key draw for top talent and forward-thinking businesses,” Syl Apps, senior managing director of Hines, said in a release. “Health and wellness are woven through every feature and every floor, providing an environment where people will feel their best and function at their best.”

Jon Stovell, president and CEO of Reliance Properties, says the filtration system will allow for what he calls air privacy. “Each floor draws its own fresh air and exhausts non-fresh air out on a floor-by-floor basis,” Stovell explains. “So a tenant on a full floor essentially has air privacy–it’s coming directly from the outside. We also have higher grades of filtration that remove pathogens and harmful particles from the air in the building.”

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The developer expects eight to 10 new tenants to occupy the tower when it’s finished in 2025/26. Given the indecision about employees returning to the office, Stovell thinks the first major speculative building to break ground in the area since COVID speaks to the commitment of the investment and tenant markets. 

“Just in the past few months, we’ve seen some very major deals done in downtown Vancouver,” he says. “This is the financial district, it has a lot of buildings from the ’50s and ’60s, and I think we’re going to increasingly see more of them being replaced with the next generation of work environments, which are operating on a whole different standard.”