What will I find in Anvil Centre?
Anvil Centre will include the following:
- conference and meeting facilities with room for a 500-seat reception
- flexible 350-seat non-proscenium theatre
- multi-purpose meeting rooms
- multi-purpose art studios and music practice rooms
- civic Art Gallery and gift shop
- City’s Museum and Archives
- Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame
- Tourism New Westminster’s visitor information centre
What will the building look like?
The project is being designed as an iconic structure at the gateway to New Westminster’s downtown.
What will the main lobby look like?
The main lobby will be a celebratory public space that is welcoming, accessible and, hopefully, awe-inspiring. It will include:
- a large, airy atrium that allows plenty of natural light and views to the outside
- main glass doors that slide open onto Columbia Street to allow for indoor/outdoor festivals
- a flexible layout that enables a variety of floor configurations from smaller meetings to large banquets
- grand stairs that invite and intrigue visitors to different spaces within the building
How did the City choose the programming components of the building?
Planned uses within the civic facility had to be “Development Assistance Compensation (DAC) eligible”, meaning that they could be covered under available funding. The DAC agreement stipulates that the project have an economic development focus, include convention/conference space and be in the downtown neighbourhood. With these stipulations in mind, the City drew on recommendations from studies and plans that identified needs and gaps within the community.
These past studies include the Downtown Community Plan, New Westminster Convention Centre Market Study, Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan, Museum & Archives Feasibility Study, Arts Strategy, Theatre Study, Arts Centre Study and the Tourism Plan.
Where will Anvil Centre be located? What are the merits of the site?
The City has selected a site on Columbia Street between 8th Street and Begbie Street as the optimal location for Anvil Centre.
Merits of the Site:
- Across the street from New Westminster SkyTrain Station
- Uses a portion of existing city-owned land (Alexander Street)
- None of the existing building were listed on the City Heritage Resource Inventory
- At the gateway to Columbia Street
- Sits at the entrance to the waterfront
- Enhances efforts made at Hyack Square with its outdoor performance space
- Synergistic with other downtown developments such as Plaza 88 across the street, the Interurban development to the south and Douglas College to the north
- Builds off the Vancouver conference market by promoting sessions along the SkyTrain
- Close to proximity to Douglas College and partnership opportunities with the College
- Proximity to other educational facilities located in New Westminster (e.g. Boucher Institute, Justice Institute)
- Relatively flat site that better serves seniors and families with children
How is the City financing construction of Anvil Centre?
Funding for the new civic facility was negotiated by the City through the Development Assistance Compensation (DAC) agreement, which outlines the use of gaming funding for priority projects. The DAC agreement was signed by the City of New Westminster, the Province of British Columbia, British Columbia Lottery Corporation and Gateway (Starlight) Casinos. $43 million of DAC funding has been allocated Priority Project 2 — the Downtown Multi Use Civic Facility. DAC will not cover all the costs for parking requirements at Anvil Centre, therefore, debt financing will be used to cover the balance.
The DAC Priority Projects are:
- Priority One – Queensborough parkland and riverfront trails/greenway
- Priority Two – Anvil Centre
- Priority Three – Queensborough facilities (Queensborough Community Centre)
- Priority Four – Pedestrian overpass between Queensborough and Downtown
- Priority Five – Esplanade improvements (in front of Fraser River Discovery Centre and the River Market)
Why did the City choose to construct the office tower component of the Anvil Centre project?
In discussions with our property consultants and upon careful review of the many development initiatives already underway in New Westminster’s downtown, the City viewed the office tower component of the Anvil Centre project as an excellent opportunity to spur ongoing revitalization of this important area. There are a number of benefits that this project presents and the City wanted to ensure that these opportunities were not lost.
What made the City so confident in this project?
The City of New Westminster has made great strides in the downtown area over the past few years. New residential and retail developments and the opening of the award-winning Westminster Pier Park are helping transform this historic area of the City. More and more, businesses and people from across the Lower Mainland are taking notice of New Westminster. Locating Class A LEED Gold office space across the street from SkyTrain and adjacent to the new Anvil Centre allows the City to compete for corporate employers from across the lower mainland while the project further enhances the area and provide opportunities for new and existing businesses and residents to thrive. It also advances the objectives of the New Westminster’s Downtown Community Plan and Livable City Strategy (including business recruitment and retention).
Since the initial concept of the MUCF/office tower project in 2010, the City has retained a number of professionals to analyze the social and economic costs/benefits of the office tower. Sensitivity analysis of the office tower financial pro forma showed a positive business case for the office component of the project.
What opportunities and benefits will the project bring to the City?
The development of the office tower brings a number of benefits and opportunities to the City including:
- 156 direct positions and 44 spin-off positions during planning and construction and 525 FTE positions after the office tower is occupied, broadening the employment base in the downtown
- Approximately 250 FTE positions created in the downtown through Anvil Centre/office tower restaurant/retail component and spin off-employment
- New customers for new and existing retail in the downtown
- New clients for civic facility and conference centre
- Realization of “transit hub” goal established when Expo SkyTrain Line was built
- Increased role of Anvil Centre as an “activity precinct” adding to the momentum of urban revitalization in downtown New West
- Increased revenue from property taxes (mill rate for office is 3.8x that of residential) estimated at up to $50 million over 50 years
- Ability to use office parking during non-business hours for Anvil Centre use
- Savings in construction efficiencies and shared costs for common areas infrastructure
- Added diversification of the Downtown economy
- Economies of scale on infrastructure, site costs and common facilities
- Increased role of the civic facility and office tower as an activity precinct adding to downtown revitalization momentum underway
- Addition of the only Class A LEED Gold office space available in New Westminster’s downtown
Has the office tower been sold?
Yes, on February 17, 2014 the City of New Westminster concluded an agreement for the sale of the office tower to Kingwood Partnership and CRS Group of Companies, owned by well-known and respected businessmen Mr. Joseph Segal and Mr. Suki Sekhon. The 137,000 sq ft Class A LEED Gold office tower was sold as an air space parcel. The City retains ownership of the Anvil Centre and fee simple land, the three level underground parkade and the retail spaces. Office tenants will have access to the parkade by paying for monthly parking, set at market rates. All proceeds from the parking revenue will go to the City.
What was included in the sale of the office tower?
The purchase price for the office tower was $36.5 million. As part of the agreement, the purchaser has assumed responsibility for tenant improvements and leasing of the office building. The city will therefore not require $9.5 million that had previously been budgeted for tenant improvements. The City retains ownership of Anvil Centre, fee-simple land, ground level retail space and three level underground parkade.
What is the official name of the office tower building?
Anvil Centre Office Tower is the official name being used by the owners of the office tower.
How are the different components of the project funded?
Construction costs of Anvil Centre and part of the underground parkade are funded through Development Assistance Compensation (DAC) contributions ($43 million) from the Province, BC Lottery Corporation and Gateway (Starlight) Casinos. The remaining costs associated with the underground parkade are to be funded through debt ($5 million, to be paid off from parking income) as well as revenues from the sale of the office tower ($6 million). Construction costs for the office tower (excluding tenant improvements) were to be funded through City Reserves ($30 million), however with the sale of the office tower this is no longer necessary.
How large is the structure?
Anvil Centre will be four storeys (approximately 60 feet) and will have 84,000 square feet of interior space. Above the civic facility will be a nine storey, 137,000 square foot office building. Together, the total height of the structure will be approximately 160 feet.
When will Anvil Centre and the office tower be completed?
The project is slated for completion in fall 2014.