The Heritage building located at 638 Smithe was built in 1925 as the home of Vancouver Motors, a Ford dealership which became Dominion Motors in 1940. The heritage structure had the automotive dealership on the main level with the repair and parking garages on the upper two floors. In recent years, Staples has had a retail outlet on the ground floor but the upper two floors which were parking garages, sat vacant. Over the years, the owners had other consultants look at how to convert the upper floor to office space, but were never successful, they then asked Fusion to take on this task in 2013.
Fusion assessed the project and reached out to several of their existing clients who had done similar complex projects. The first step was to find the right consulting team to put this project in to action. Fusion was able to work with the City of Vancouver to understand the heritage building specifications and requirements. They then put together a project strategy to convert the upper two levels into 30,000 square feet of class-A office space while ensuring Staples’ retail operation could continue during construction.
The project involved a complete envelope restoration including a new lobby entrance on Smithe Street, all-new windows built to match the original heritage windows, a complete new roof and full restoration of the exterior surfaces including the pilasters. Inside, additions included a state-of-the-art elevator, brand new lighting and electrical systems to meet the all-new ASHRAE standards and a high efficiency mechanical system. New common areas were added including storage areas, new washrooms, showers and bike storage facilities. This complex project was completed in 2015 and ultimately won the 2015 City of Vancouver Heritage Award.