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Morguard Readies For Next Office Round


A re-zoning application for Morguard Investments' proposed office tower at 601 West Hastings St is now in front of the city. The company thinks the project will take advantage of the next round of office demand after the current phase of building construction is finished. (It's called office development surfing, and it's all the rage.)


"This is for the next cycle," Morguard's SVP development Margaret Knowles (with Morguard director of development for Western Canada Geoff Nagle) tells us. The city's response has been positive so far; Margaret says it comes down to its sustainable plans (LEED Gold) and the redesign of the parkette currently on the site. The 25-storey office space doesn't start until the fourth floor. The total floor area would be 227K SF, including over 3,500 SF of ground-level retail space. (We've been looking for a place to open a toy store.) Plans call for 102 parking spaces and 78 bicycle parking spaces. B+H Architects is overseeing the design of the project.


According to Margaret and Geoff, the market demand is more for regional offices, and the proposed tower would be more of a boutique-style. "There are few companies in Vancouver that take a head-office mindset where you would take a 20k SF footprint," she says, and 500 to 12k SF will be the building's sweet spot. This application--and the others in front of the city--show that the market to build office towers won't abate anytime soon. Workers are attached to transit, and they want to be downtown, Geoff says.