Metro Vancouver moves to new Metrotown offices

After more than a year of preparation and three busy weekends of moving, the employees of Metro Vancouver are settling into a new head office.

Until this week, the regional district, which provides services such as drinking water, liquid and solid waste disposal, regional planning, regional parks and affordable housing, was located in adjacent buildings (4330 Kingsway and 5945 Kathleen Ave.) in Burnaby.

Metro’s new office space is in Metrotower III, about a kilometre away.

“I think we’re quite excited that we have some new space,” said Raymond Louie, a Vancouver city councillor who is also vice-chair of Metro Vancouver’s board of directors.

Ivanhoé Cambridge approached Metro in the spring of 2015 with the option to buy Metrotower III, a 29-storey LEED Platinum building that opened in 2014 and has more than 414,000 square feet of office space, almost twice as much as in Metro’s old buildings.

Before closing the purchase for $205 million in December 2015, Metro commissioned three reviews by two different companies, and had two commercial real-estate agencies compare property values, look at available office space and provide support. Metro had previously asked Morrison Hershfield to do two assessments of its current properties in 2011 and 2013.

The business case for purchasing the new building included a comparison of three scenarios: staying in the existing buildings and renovating, relocating to Metrotower, or building new head offices. Detailed forecasting was done for a 20-year period.

It found that renovating the old offices would have cost slightly more than moving to Metrotower. The older buildings required extensive work, including replacing all of the exterior windows, and upgrading mechanical elements such as the heat pumps and elevators.

Building a new head office was projected to cost about $561 million.

“Primarily, it did come down to finances,” said Louie. “Our existing facilities were no longer meeting our needs, both in …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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