It’s greener, it’s swankier and it undoubtedly pushes the envelope more than other office buildings in downtown Vancouver.
Telus held the grand opening on Thursday for Telus Garden, a $750-million project that has been six years in the making on the block between Robson and Georgia at Richards.
“Telus Garden is without a doubt one of most technologically innovative and environmentally friendly developments in the world,” Telus CEO Darren Entwistle said in a compelling speech that had the energy of a political rally, not a staid corporate event.
Entwistle said the development builds upon the company’s history of investing in Vancouver, where Telus has had offices on the same block since the early 1900s. The block was transformed with the goal of creating a “human ecosystem” that gives back to the arts, architecture and is kinder on the environment.
The tower is LEED platinum – the highest level on the green building certification scale – and posts the highest LEED score of any tower in Vancouver’s history, Entwistle added. (Hours later at a separate event, outgoing city planner Brian Jackson questioned whether LEED is the best standard.)
The building boasts nearly 300 solar panels, collects rainwater to use for flushing toilets, uses motion sensor lighting to keep it dark when no one’s around and captures heat from its nearby data centre.
It also has a grand piano in the lobby, 40 Koi fish and countless local artworks, including a wood and glass outdoor canopy inspired by Emily Carr’s Nature’s Cathedral.
Developer Ian Gillespie of Westbank thanked the city for allowing the project to deviate from the mold and cantilever parts of the building over the street.
“We broke a lot of rules to make this happen,” Gillespie said of the lot, which used to be a city parking lot.
Mayor Gregor Robertson said the city created new rules for the project and made changes to its bylaws to enable new ideas to happen, such as the pop outs over the street.
“We felt it’s time to start using space up high over the streets to really accentuate the building, give more space, give more dynamic to the city,” Robertson said.
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