Edmonton is growing up — literally.
The provincial capital has become home to Canada’s tallest tower outside of Toronto. Ice District’s 69-storey Stantec Tower, which celebrated its grand opening in September, is now home to 1,500 workers.
Stantec’s new global headquarters, designed by its own architects and engineers, features 29 storeys of commercial workspace, 483 condo suites, and more than 20,000 square feet of amenity space housing an outdoor patio, fireplaces and barbeques, a hot tub, kitchen, fitness centre, and a billiards room.
“We were really trying to find a consolidated area that all of our teams within Stantec could be in so that we didn’t always have to be travelling back and forth,” says interior designer Bryanne Riley, a Stantec senior associate.
The design and consulting company was founded in Edmonton as a one-man operation in 1954 and has grown into a multi-billion-dollar company with offices on six continents. As the company grew, it began to spread its employees among more and more locations.
Until November, when the last wave of employees moved into the new headquarters, Stantec had occupied floors in two separate towers on 112 Street: the Devonian Building on Jasper Ave., and a low-rise building beside Bell Tower on 103 Ave.
When Stantec started looking into combining its offices, there were multiple options on the table, including building a large campus in the suburbs, former Stantec President and CEO Bob Gomes told Global News in September. However, in 2014, the company announced its lease agreement for Stantec Tower, which would consolidate hundreds of employees in one location — and make a mark on Edmonton’s expanding downtown.
“Edmonton has always been that city that maybe settled for something that was second best,” said Gomes. “Well, let’s do something that’s better than anyone else, let’s do something that’s larger. And larger is one way of equating better.”
Height is just one of the elements that makes the new headquarters so impressive. The tower also features furniture that can be moved around and configured for different uses; integrated acoustic materials; destination elevators, which groups passengers going to the same destinations into the same elevators by requesting travel to a particular floor prior to entering the elevator; a reflection room, where employees can go to pray, meditate, or do yoga; as well as a café hub on each floor, where staff can eat lunch or collaborate on projects.
Another highlight of Stantec’s new headquarters is its work space layout. Walking around the 14th floor, you can’t help but notice that there are few offices, and the ones there are have been placed away from the windows, so all staff members can enjoy natural light. Also, the few private offices have movable walls that can be taken down to create more work stations when needed.
Stantec’s employees are also showing a lot of enthusiasm for their new personally customized workstations, Riley says.
She was part of the team that met with employees to find out what they needed at their desks to do their jobs better.
“It was a really engaging piece for employees,” she says. “I think it was a big success.”
As for the public, aside from plans to develop a large food hall that will welcome pedestrians and employees from surrounding businesses, access to Stantec Tower is limited to employees and official visitors, who can meet with staff on the third and fourth floors.
As for the apartments, which start on the 30th floor, they aren’t scheduled for occupancy until Fall 2019.