Making way for Western Canada’s largest mass timber office

Matthew Bradford

Mount Pleasant, Vancouver, is slated to be the site of Western Canada’s tallest mass timber office building. This July, PC Urban Properties Corp and Hines announced plans to develop a 10-storey, 196,000-square-foot mixed-use office complex, dubbed T3 Mount Pleasant. The partners hope it will “provide a superior work environment for businesses seeking to attract and retain the highest quality talent in a post-COVID Vancouver market.”

The name T3 Mount Pleasant alludes to the team’s primary vision: Timber, Transit, and Technology. In addition to being touted as one of the region’s most eco-friendly and sustainable commercial builds, the building will offer “best-in-class creative office space designed to meet the highest post-COVID health and safety standards.” It will also feature many occupant amenities, including social workspaces, tenant collaboration areas, cutting-edge audio/visual systems, a fitness centre, bike storage, end-of-trip facilities, and high-quality Wi-Fi throughout.

“As we begin to look beyond COVID-19, there is a definitive need for office buildings to meet new sustainability and health and wellness standards,” said Syl Apps, Senior Managing Director at Hines. “Our T3 buildings are well-positioned to bring new, innovative amenities and features that many tenants are looking for to create a healthier and more sustainable workplace environment to promote productivity, but also to help companies attract and retain top talent.” 

 

A showpiece for mass timber

Mass timber constructions are taking shape throughout Canada. Dan Cupa, VP of Development at PC Urban, said the decision to explore mass timber construction for T3 Mount Pleasant is owed to recognition for its proven value.

“The growth in the popularity of mass timber construction primarily stems from appealing to a heightened level of corporate social responsibility, as well as with our tenant’s and their employee’s increasing concern for environmental sustainability.” 

Moreover, he adds, Canadian jurisdictions are becoming aware of how this renewable resource can contribute to lower carbon footprints in comparison to traditional concrete and steel structures: “Municipalities are now waking up to the benefits of mass timber with modifications to the building code. Some, such as the City of Vancouver, are allowing for taller sass timber buildings and up to 12 storeys for encapsulated mass timber.”

Certainly, we cannot discount the environmental benefits of mass timber construction. As Hines and PC Urban Properties detail in their pitch for T3 Mount Pleasant, timber is 100% renewable, recyclable, and non-toxic. It also provides designers with the opportunity to implement productivity and wellness benefits. 

“Employees exposed to wood during their workday have higher levels of well-being and take less sick leave,” the partners stated in a joint release. “Timber also has natural anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, outperforming other typical construction materials in this respect.”

 

New heights for wood construction

Construction on T3 Mount Pleasant is slated to begin in 2022 and conclude in 2024. Once complete, the office building will rise above The Landing, a 9-storey office building at 375 Water Street, which currently stands as the tallest and largest historical timber office building on the market, and the former 4-storey MEC headquarters on Great Northern Way, which is known as the tallest and largest modern timber office building in the region. Measurements aside, PC Urban Properties Corp and Hines are confident that the development will raise the bar for mass timber construction.

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