City to move ahead with construction of downtown office tower
New Westminster, BC – In a move to continue revitalization efforts underway in the downtown, the City of New Westminster is proceeding with construction of the office tower component of the new multi-use civic facility (MUCF) on Columbia Street. The move will ensure that the many opportunities the office tower will bring, including employment, downtown revitalization and project efficiencies, are realized for the community.
“The MUCF/office tower project is a critical component of revitalization efforts that are starting to show real results in our downtown,” said Mayor Wayne Wright. “By ensuring construction of 100,000-plus square feet of class-A LEED Gold office space goes ahead, we are elevating benefits the project will bring while creating an asset for the City.”
The office tower project at the gateway to downtown New Westminster at 8th and Columbia Streets is connected to the development of the MUCF, currently underway. While the MUCF is being funded through a Development Assistance Compensation agreement between the City of New Westminster, Province of British Columbia, Lottery Corporation of British Columbia and Starlight Casinos, the office tower construction costs will be financed by the City.
“There is no question that New Westminster is increasingly on the radar screens of businesses and developers as a centrally located hub with five rapid transit stations linking us to the rest of Metro Vancouver,” said Wright. “We want to build on that by creating opportunities to broaden the employment base in the downtown area, increasing its vitality and returning it to its former glory when our downtown was known as the Golden Mile.”
Benefits and opportunities that the MUCF/office tower project will bring to New Westminster include:
- 156 direct employment positions and 44 indirect employment positions during planning and construction and 525 FTE positions after the office tower is built
- Up to 250 FTE positions created in the downtown through the MUCF/office tower restaurant/retail component and spin-off employment
- New customers for new and existing retail in the downtown
- New clients for the civic facility and conference centre
- Realization of transit hub/regional town centre goals established for the area when Expo Line SkyTrain was built nearly three decades ago
- Increased role of MUCF/office tower as an activity precinct adding to downtown revitalization momentum underway
- Increased revenue from property taxes (estimated at $50 million over 50 years)
- Ability to use office parking for MUCF during non-business hours
- Creation of an asset that the City can sell later or hold as a lease revenue stream
“This is a great project that will reap dividends for our community for years to come,” said Wright. “We’ve taken huge strides in livability and revitalization in New Westminster over the past decade or so and we’re going to ensure we continue on the right track.”
The MUCF/office tower project was officially launched in September 2011. While much interest has been shown in the office tower project to date, a partnership agreement hasn’t been concluded as yet that would satisfy all of the goals, benefits and objectives the City wants to see generated for the community. Ensuring the office tower is completed in conjunction with the MUCF will allow the City to continue with construction timelines and meet key project milestones while providing greater control over the construction schedule.
The anticipated completion date for the MUCF/office tower project is Spring 2014. The total budget includes $41.5 million for MUCF construction, $12.5 million for parking and $33 million for the office tower component.