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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Sinclair Centre $500M redevelopment planned

The federal government is planning to add new office space to the historic Sinclair Centre in downtown Vancouver, at a cost of $400-$500 million.

A request for information has been issued for the project, seeking architectural and engineering expertise for the upcoming redevelopment project.

Several architecture firms appear to have replied to the tender as “interested suppliers” including Vancouver-based Henriquez Partners Architects and Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini Architects.

The existing complex consists of four federally-owned buildings dating back to the early 1900s. They were “connected” by a glazed atrium in 1986, creating Sinclair Centre as we know it today.

The redevelopment project consists of 75,000-100,000 square metres (approx. one million square feet) of space (offices with ancillary public and retail use), with a total construction cost of $400-$500 million, plus GST. The towers would likely be 22 storeys tall, on top of the existing seven-storey buildings.

The federal government says a 2016 report found that Sinclair Centre requires significant mid-life upgrades, and identified four main pillars of the redevelopment project:

  • heritage conservation, including seismic and mechanical upgrades
  • sustainability showcase: net-zero emissions buildings to help reduce the carbon footprint
  • workplace transformation: increasing wellness through an improved indoor environment
  • urban integration: re-integrating the buildings into the evolving streetscape and capitalizing on the building’s proximity to the Waterfront Station transportation hub

Any addition to Sinclair Centre is likely to be in the form of office towers similar to The Post redevelopment, as building heights on the site are restricted by a view cone.

The Post QuadReal development rendering
Rendering of The Post development by QuadReal. Credit: QuadReal

The federal government is aiming to award the contract in 2022, with designs complete by 2024, and construction targeted to complete in 2029.

Heritage Vancouver states that all four buildings at Sinclair Centre (757 West Hastings Street) are listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register: the Former Post Office (1905-1910), Winch Building (1909) and Customs Warehouse (1911-1913) are all Category A, and the Federal Building (1937-1939) is Category B. The Post Office and Winch buildings are also protected through municipal heritage designations.

It was listed as one of the top endangered sites in Canada by Heritage Vancouver in 2017, which stated at the time:

Heritage Vancouver Society believes that a creative solution to the office needs of the Federal Government can, and should, be found without threatening the integrity of Sinclair Centre through the massive tower addition that is proposed.

Heritage Vancouver Society

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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