The Lightworks Building Revitalized: From Electrical Factory to Business Innovation Hub

The Lightworks Building gets a modern makeover by PC Urban Properties Corp
Stroll the streets of Mount Pleasant and you’ll see signs of a steady evolution. High-tech and creative industries are moving in, alongside craft breweries and eclectic coffee shops. It’s a community that celebrates innovation, creativity and the new economy and, at the same time, its history. Representative of this community is The Lightworks Building, a 1942 Art Deco building being preserved by PC Urban Properties Corp.—a Vancouver-based real estate development and investment company that’s known for re-imagining older spaces into vibrant business hubs.

Remaking Vancouver’s industrial heartland
The Lightworks Building holds court on the corner of East 5th Avenue and Ontario Street. Once the renovation is completed, the revitalized building will offer expansive views of downtown Vancouver and the North Shore mountains through its sweeping glass windows.

“Traditionally, Mount Pleasant was the industrial heartland of the city,” says PC Urban principal Brent Sawchyn. “Then manufacturing all went overseas or to the suburbs. Now, it’s returning to the inner city. It’s gone full circle, not only in Mount Pleasant, but in our building specifically. We’re giving life back to the building by re-imagining and redeveloping the site to give back its purpose.”

A golden era of design and technology
High tech thrived in this neighbourhood long before companies like Hootsuite helped kickstart its reawakening. Turn the clock back to the 1940s when radio manufacturing, not social media, was the ultimate in high tech. And it was in the The Lightworks Building where the Cemco Electrical Manufacturing Company turned out sophisticated electrical components for the Allied effort during the Second World War. PC Urban is helping to preserve the City of Vancouver’s history and inviting new creative manufacturers and businesses to build their own stories in what will be a beautiful revamped heritage building.

A modern and meaningful makeover
The Lightworks Building was originally designed by local architect H. H. Simmonds whose enduring work includes Vancouver’s Vogue and Stanley theatres. Its handsome heritage will be protected and PC Urban’s design will give the new 54,000-square-foot, six-storey building even more gravitas. “This is an exceptional building and through this process it will be getting a new life and a new story,” says Donald Luxton, a leading Vancouver heritage architectural consultant.

Heritage meets state-of-the-art design
Heritage and high tech co-exist in this state-of-the-art building. Elements such as glass and concrete are aligned with the city’s sustainable ethos. Energy-efficient features include operable windows that infuse the space with light, and heat pumps that keep the building comfortable whatever the weather. The 7,200-square-foot ground floor will be anchored with light industrial and commercial space, while four storeys of offices rise above.

A new landmark for Mount Pleasant’s creative zone
The new landmark will lure businesses and their employees—the new creative class—to the neighborhood. Smart touches like electric car charging stations and on-site car sharing are complemented by underground parking and secure bicycle storage. Active lifestyles have been championed at Lightworks too. Showers, lockers and change rooms encourage people to commute by bike or sneak out for an afternoon run around Olympic Village.