$200 million office project launches in Vancouver's downtown core

January 23, 2014 | Jobs and the Economy

Vancouver remains the strongest office market in North America, as demand for quality office space outpaces supply. Today, in a joint news conference with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Credit Suisse – one of the top 10 largest private real estate investors in the world – confirmed its faith in Vancouver and British Columbia’s economy by announcing that it will break ground on a $200-million LEED Platinum office tower.

The City of Vancouver recently granted a development permit for Credit Suisse’s 31-storey office tower, The Exchange, in the heart of the financial district.

“We are excited that a global giant like Credit Suisse has chosen Vancouver for its first ground-up development in North America,” says Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Not only will The Exchange add critical new office and job space, but it will hit the highest green standards and deliver a major economic benefit to our city. The Exchange supports a number of our economic and greenest city policies and initiatives, and it is great to have Credit Suisse put down roots in Vancouver."

Up until recently, the City of Vancouver was projecting a critical shortage of office space by 2031 if land- use policies remained the same. With a new Metro Core Jobs & Economic Land Use plan in place, there are now seven new office towers under construction in downtown, creating 2.18-million square feet of new office space. More than half of that space is already pre-leased.

In the last four years, the City of Vancouver has approved as much office space as in the entire preceding decade.

The Exchange will be Canada’s second tallest office tower to achieve LEED Platinum, the highest sustainability rating from the Canada Green Building Council. Energy consumption will be half the load of traditional office buildings, with a 35 per cent reduction in energy costs and an 85 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions. The development will also include Canada’s first LEED Platinum heritage conversion, as the neighbouring Old Stock Exchange building (circa 1929) will be renovated and restored as part of The Exchange.

Independent market analysts expect The Exchange will be substantially leased before completion. “As the global economy recovers, Vancouver is one of the strongest office markets in North America,” says Mark Chambers, Senior Vice President of Cushman & Wakefield. “The downtown Vancouver office market currently sits at near-record low vacancy rates, with mounting pressure on availability of quality space.”

During construction, The Exchange will create 400 jobs. Upon completion in 2016, there will be 1,700 permanent job spaces.