QuadReal and PC Urban are teaming up on a 22-storey office tower at 550 Cambie Street in Crosstown, near the Stadium SkyTrain station.
The proposal is a big vote of confidence in downtown Vancouver’s office market and a return to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic.
QuadReal been moving into the Crosstown neighbourhood in a big way, with construction on The Post well underway. Once complete, Amazon Canada will occupy all of the office space at The Post, totalling 1.13 million square feet. The project is located just one-and-a-half blocks away from 550 Cambie, so it’s not hard to see potential synergies between Amazon and this new office tower.
The design by MCMP Architects (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership) will achieve a minimum of LEED Gold for sustainability.
Renderings: 550 Cambie office tower
The ground floor consists of an open lobby space flanked by retail units fronting onto Cambie Street. At the south end of the ground floor, there is an integrated retail space for a café or small restaurant opening directly on to the lobby. Additionally, there is space for a potential flagship restaurant or bistro to occupy the retained heritage building (Cleland-Kent Building) across two levels.
In total, there will be 258,245 square feet of class A office space. Tenants will have access to several amenity terraces, including on levels 13, 14 and 15.
The shape of the building is defined by its contextual constraints. Meeting the ground plane is a rectangular form, transformed through a terraced, low-rise base, topped by an angular, ‘crystalline’ tower. The shape of the building is carved to minimize any shadowing on Victory Square, located just north the site. Architects paid special attention to any shadowing impact on annual Remembrance Day ceremonies, specifically between 9:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on November 11.
The façade of tower includes prefabricated, metal sun-shading devices on the Cambie frontage in a matte, bronze-like metal.
Cleland Kent Building will be retained
The project site contains an existing building at 534 Cambie Street (Cleland-Kent Building) that has potential heritage value, although it is unlisted. The new office tower will incorporate this building, built in 1925.
The building is narrow facing the street and deep toward the back. A lane perpendicular to the street runs along the side of the building and another lane parallel to the street runs along the back; as a result three sides of the building are exposed. It’s located adjacent to a multi-storey EasyPark parkade.
The site slopes down from the street thus exposing the entire basement height at the back of the building. Unused side door and loading openings on the side and back are still visible, signalling the original industrial activity held in the building. The existing building has a number of character-defining elements that are almost exclusively part of the three exterior façades facing Cambie Street and the laneway.
CBD continues extension east into Crosstown
The new office tower at 550 Cambie Street is one of several office towers and commercial projects that are redefining the boundaries of Vancouver’s Central Business District. Crosstown is well-situated between Vancouver’s traditional CBD, the entertainment district, and Gastown with rapid transit stations at each end.
Within the surrounding blocks are several significant office tower developments, including The Post, 400 W Georgia, 402 Dunsmuir and the Central Steam redevelopment. 550 Cambie aligns with these projects as examples of mixed-use, commercial buildings that will provide new, tech-focused office space, in addition to retail space at grade resulting in an improved public realm.