Hines has joined forces with PC Urban Properties Corp. in a venture that will enhance the office offerings in Vancouver in more ways than one.
Together, the partners will develop T3 Mount Pleasant, a 196,000-square-foot, 10-story mixed-use project that will become the largest and tallest mass timber office building in western Canada.
“PC Urban and Hines have formed a 50/50 partnership to develop the project,” Syl Apps, senior managing director with Hines, told Commercial Property Executive.”
T3 Mount Pleasant will sprout up at 123 E. 6th Ave. in the Mount Pleasant area, a creative tech hub in Vancouver. The City tapped PC Urban to purchase and redevelop the site with an eye toward incorporating the existing historic SFU Annex structure, and PC Urban took the opportunity to partner with Hines to integrate a wood-centric office building into the project.
T3 Mount Pleasant—named for Hines’ proprietary mass-timber creative office product focused on timber, transit and technology—is designed for a post-pandemic era.
“Hines [leaders] are strong believers in Vancouver’s world-class economy, talented workforce, cost effectiveness and quality of living. We believe that the best and most innovative companies in the world understand this as well. T3 Mount Pleasant will allow Hines, along with our partner PC Urban, to deliver a best-in-class, post-COVID-19 building to meet the future needs of the companies and help them attract and retain the best talent in the market,” Apps said.
The mass timber product will be employed as the main structural and floor element, providing a warm and authentic office environment. The project will also feature such amenities as creative industrial and retail space on the lower levels, as well as social workspaces, collaboration areas, an activated rooftop deck and shared conference space. Tenants will also be able to avail themselves of a spa-quality fitness facility, bike storage and end-of-trip facilities.
Wood takes center stage
With mass timber being a rapidly renewable resource, T3 will be an inherently health and wellness-centric workplace destination. Timber is also recyclable and non-toxic, and it possesses natural anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. Additionally, as Hines notes in a press release, the material is known to have productivity and wellness benefits. According to a 2020 report on the North American mass timber industry by the Forest Business Network, “Exposed wood surfaces support biophilic responses in building occupants, promoting health and productivity benefits in all building types.”
Hines and PC Urban will further augment the health and wellness aspects of T3 Mount Pleasant’s timber construction with a building design that enhances energy efficiency and natural light, and the addition of state-of-the-art HVAC systems for superior indoor air quality.
Vancouver’s new normal
The Vancouver office market continues to grapple with the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, change is afoot. “With the rollout of the vaccine, people are ready to discuss the real estate needs of their business moving forward,” according to a first-quarter report by Colliers International.
“Many no longer wonder if they’ll be back in the office but how their needs for office space will change post-pandemic.” While metropolitan Vancouver’s office vacancy rate is nowhere near the enviable 2.7 percent seen one year ago in the first quarter of 2020, it remains relatively reasonable at just 6 percent,” according to Colliers’ research. The figure is even lower, 5.4 percent, for Class A properties.
Hines and PC Urban plan to market T3 Mount Pleasant to office users in the creative industries, including tech—which comprises 40 percent of office tenant demand in Vancouver—advertising, media and life sciences. Construction of the project is on schedule to commence in 2022, with an estimated completion date in 2024.