May 2, 2014

Transit and Business: Attracting the Best and the Brightest

Here are Microsoft’s soon-t0-be new Vancouver offices  – basically on top of the Canada Line station, in the heart of the city (map here):



Here is where Microsoft used to be located – a business park next to a freeway interchange in Richmond, in the heart of nothing  (map here):



Microsoft is expected to employ 400 at the downtown location.  In other news, the Sun reports that the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant proposed for Squamish is estimated to employ about 100 people.

Not that this is a case of either/or – but it needs to be asked: why is the Premier so gung-ho on the jobs related to LNG plants, which may or may not materialize in the future, but has nothing to say about the jobs – here today – related to transit.  And, further, is prepared to put the region’s future at risk with a vote on transit expansion, while at the same time approving (without any requirement for a vote) another low-priority bridge that will lead to further sprawl in the Okanagan?

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  1. That’s obvious. The Premier gets votes in the “hinterland”, and not in Point Grey – she lost her seat there, remember?

    It seems clear to me that the strategy of the provincial Liberals is now to cater to the rural vote:
    – the ALR will be split, favoring rural development,
    – Kelowna gets a new bridge
    – the Electoral Boundaries Commission’s recommendations have been overruled, and now urban ridings will have effectively LESS representation than rural ones
    – full-throttle on LNG development ==> jobs for the rural voters.

    This has nothing to do with actual sensible planning. It has to do with remaining in power.

  2. Microsoft was in Richmond when they first arrived – years ago (2 offices ago from what I understand).

    After Richmond, they moved into the former Safeway head office on Cambie near Robson (now an ESL school). Then they moved into the former Pivotal Building next to Terry Fox Plaza. See pic here:

    Apparently, the Pacific Centre office will be an additional facility.

    There’s still 1 and 1/3 floors to lease above Nordstrom.
    Apparently, MIcrosoft will take the top 2 floors, MIller Thomson LLP 2/3 of a floor and another “big” tenant to be announced.

    This also shows how much denser office space is (in terms of generating shoppig traffic) than residnetial condos. 400 workers ready to spend money in the mall below.

    1. From Microsoft’s announcement: “When we made a decision to direct the expansion, it’s really about how could we find a place that would attract the best and brightest minds around the world that would want to come to a beautiful city like Vancouver.”

      Let me translate this for you Ivory tower types: “We need to park our people from India somewhere while they are waiting for temp visa’s to work in the States. So we are renting this new office space nobody else wants or needs….

      1. No news there – they expressed stated that:

        In an unusually pointed statement from the company, Microsoft said “The Vancouver area is a global gateway with a diverse population, is close to Microsoft’s corporate offices in Redmond, and allows the company to recruit and retain highly skilled people affected by immigration issues in the U.S.” The words are a clear message to the coalition of conservative Senators who killed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007.

  3. The provincial government’s boosterism of LNG has everything to do with the revenues they’ll get from royalties on selling the stuff. It’s the only plausible way they’ve been able to come up with to balance the budget. Those 100 LNG workers will earn the government a lot more income than the 400 Microsoft employees.