Another tech giant from the Seattle area has decided to make further inroads within its neighbor to the north.
Daily Hive Urbanized has learned Microsoft will open a new additional major office location in downtown Vancouver.
This will be an expanded presence for Microsoft, which already has four office locations in the city centre.
Sources tell Daily Hive Urbanized the office location will be by far Microsoft’s largest office location in Vancouver. The office will be located at the future B6 (Bentall 6) office tower at 1090 West Pender Street — the southeast corner of the intersection of Thurlow Street and West Pender Street, near SkyTrain Burrard Station.
Microsoft will occupy approximately 400,000 sq ft across about 20 floors of this 403-ft-tall, 33-storey office tower with 562,000 sq ft of premium AAA-class office space. There will be enough office space for potentially thousands of Microsoft employees.
Construction on B6 first began in 2019, and as of today, it has progressed to more than half of its concrete floor plate pour, with work on the tower now reaching the 18th storey. B6 is expected to reach completion sometime in the first half of 2023.
The tower was developed by BentallGreenOak, and designed by local architectural firm Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership. During the project’s design and planning phase, it was stated that the relatively large floor plate sizes — between 14,000 sq ft and 21,000 sq ft — were intentionally suitable for large companies and tech firms. The building also includes ample indoor and outdoor rooftop amenity spaces for workers.
The new location is expected to accommodate the company’s growth in technical development jobs in the city.
Daily Hive Urbanized reached out to Microsoft and BentallGreenOak but did not receive any comments in time for publication. Microsoft’s presence at B6 has not been formally publicly announced.
As of the end of 2021, Microsoft’s presence in downtown Vancouver reached 1,700 employees across all office locations.
Microsoft’s future office at B6 is nearly three times larger than its 2016-opened, 142,000 sq ft office, known as the Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre, above Nordstrom within the CF Pacific Center building.
In 2021, Microsoft also took over all 75,000 sq ft of office space within a new seven-storey building at 155 Water Street in Gastown.
The company also has other office locations at 858 Beatty Street next to BC Place Stadium and 155 Water Street within The Landing building next to Waterfront Station.
The office at B6 will also be about three times larger than Microsoft’s newly opened 132,000 sq ft downtown Toronto office location at CIBC Square.
Microsoft’s new push into Vancouver is only second to Amazon’s growth, which will occupy the entirety of over one million sq ft of office space within The Post redevelopment downtown. The Post’s first phase — the new south office tower — is slated to open later this year, while the remainder of the complex will open by Fall 2023. Amazon will employ 6,000 office workers at The Post, in addition to a handful of other locations across the city centre, including all of the newly built 152,000 sq ft office building at 402 Dunsmuir Street, just across the street.
Downtown Vancouver continues to have the lowest office vacancy rate amongst city centers in major North American urban regions. The vacancy rate of 7.7% is still within the healthy range and represents an increase from the undesirable low vacancies of about 1% before the pandemic. Demand for office space in Vancouver’s city center is being driven by the continued strong growth of the local tech industry and the accelerating return to the office workplace.
Several new office buildings began construction within and near downtown earlier this year, backed by confidence in long-term office demand in Vancouver. As well, downtown will see a handful of major new office building completions this year, including the completion of the Deloitte Summit earlier this spring.