by Brianna Crandall — November 28, 2016 — NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, recently named Oxford Properties, the real estate arm of OMERS, as recipient of the Project of the Year award for their MNP Tower office development in Vancouver as part of Oxford Place. The award was presented November 1 at NAIOP’s O.CON: The Office Conference in Los Angeles.
Designed by architects Kohn Pedersen Fox of New York, MNP Tower rises as a striking glass office tower in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour district. The mission of the project was to create a landmark, sustainable “AAA” boutique office building that capitalized on its central location, spectacular mountain and water views, and sensitive contextual relationship to the Marine Building, considered one of Vancouver’s most significant heritage buildings.
About the project
The 35-story, 270,000-square-foot MNP Tower completes the four-building, 1.1 million sq. ft. Oxford Place commercial complex on the Vancouver waterfront. The building was the first to be launched in the most recent development cycle in Downtown Vancouver, which ultimately added almost 10 percent to the city’s existing stock. Despite this rapid influx of new developments, MNP Tower outperformed Oxford’s underwriting and return expectations, and equally important, lifted the value of the balance of the Oxford Place complex that includes The Marine Building, Guinness Tower and Oceanic Plaza.
Launched on a speculative basis in late 2011 by Oxford and investment partner CPPIB, the office development quickly attracted interest in the market, with the first lease deal completed with Myers Norris Penny (MNP) in mid-2012 for 56,000 sq. ft. on seven floors. Other notable occupants of the tower include CBRE (29,000 sq. ft.) and the Nightingale Restaurant operated by notable chef David Hawksworth. The project opened in mid- 2015 and is now 100 percent leased to a total of 25 tenants, six of which are multi-floor tenants.
Respectful of its role in enhancing the city’s signature skyline, MNP Tower is connected to the Marine Building, a landmark heritage building constructed in 1929, and the Guinness Tower built in 1967. According to NAIOP, contextual relationships were considered at every level of the tower’s design. The University Club’s historic facade along West Hastings Street was retained and preserved, and an accessible public plaza and pedestrian walkway was created connecting two city streets.
The office development was shaped to maintain water views from the eastern face of Guinness Tower and the western face of the Marine Building — this distinct shape also allowed for views from two-thirds of the MNP Tower floorplate.
Through efficient functional planning, material reduction and use of technologies, the project achieves a high degree of energy efficiency and sustainability, with virtually zero greenhouse gas emissions and a LEED Gold Core and Shell designation. The building will also become the first WELL Certified project in Western Canada, and the rest of the complex also boasts LEED EBOM Gold certification, points out NAIOP.
Thoughtful design was employed to minimize lifecycle costs, including triple-pane glazing with ceramic frit and fins to maximize solar and heat-load control, and a highly efficient floor-by-floor variable refrigerant flow mechanical system which provides optimal tenant flexibility, adds NAIOP. By expanding the multi-story parking garage and combining it with the adjacent existing building, efficiencies around maintenance and security were also achieved.
Oxford Properties and architects Kohn Pederson Fox worked collaboratively with the City of Vancouver to create a seamlessly integrated development that enhances the skyline and complements the surrounding urban environment. The impact on the community can be felt in the transformation and revitalization of the amenities and restaurants surrounding the development, and the increase in occupancy and rents across the overall complex, according to NAIOP.
As a result, MNP Tower has been widely celebrated as one of the most unique and impactful office development projects in Vancouver. In addition to NAIOP Project of the Year, MNP has also been honored as the recipient of the City of Vancouver Urban Design Award for 2015, the Architectural Institute of British Columbia’s Lieutenant Governor Award for Design, and Office Building of the Year for the Vancouver Chapter of NAIOP.