GWL Realty Advisors Breaks Ground on the First New Rental Tower on Robson Street

Today we helped GWL Realty Advisors mark the groundbreaking of 1500 Robson with an industry and media event. Winter outdoor events are always a fun challenge. Many thanks to our tenting (and heater) supplier and to our special guests, pups Hazel and Trink! Here’s the key news:

The 128-unit building will bring much needed rental housing to the West End; Groundbreaking ceremony attended by Mayor Kennedy Stewart

GWL Realty Advisors , joined by Mayor Kennedy Stewart, formally broke ground today on a 21-storey market rental tower at 1500 Robson Street. Located at the corner of Robson and Nicola in the West End, the new building will add 128 purpose-built rental units to a neighbourhood experiencing extremely low rental vacancy rates. GWL Realty Advisors is developing the project on behalf of the project owner, the London Life Insurance Company. 

“We are proud to be increasing the supply and diversity of rental housing in the West End of Vancouver,” says Ralf Dost, President, GWL Realty Advisors. “This new development will provide the neighbourhood with desperately needed rental units – especially those suitable for families – in a professionally managed building with great amenities. This project represents the type of community building we want to undertake in the City of Vancouver and for our investment clients”.

In response to the shortage of family-oriented rental housing, a third of the building will be made up of two- and three-bedroom units suitable for families. 

 The Lower Robson neighbourhood has some of the highest land costs in the city and new developments have tended to take the form of luxury condominiums. However, this new building at 1500 Robson breaks with this trend by being a purpose-built market rental tower from an institutional developer that intends to hold and manage the building on a long-term basis. 

By increasing density in a highly walkable neighbourhood like the West End, this development will help reduce car dependency as residents will be able to live, work, shop and play within the downtown peninsula. 

 “Developments like this one at 1500 Robson are adding much-needed supply to the downtown rental market,” says Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “In order to alleviate the housing shortage in our city, we need more of all types of housing – especially purpose-built rental. By incorporating larger units suitable for families into the design, this new tower at 1500 Robson will also help diversify the housing mix in the Lower Robson neighbourhood”.

Simone AbtComment
Emily Carr University to Hire Five Permanent Indigenous Faculty

Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECU) announced today that it is recruiting five full-time Indigenous faculty members. The cluster hiring initiative, designed to introduce an interdisciplinary group of Indigenous academics to the university at the same time, will double the number of tenured and tenure-track Indigenous faculty at ECU. 


Indigeneity is one of the core priorities of ECU’s strategic plan. The path towards indigenizing the university includes a commitment to increase the number of full-time Indigenous faculty. Aside from teaching and research in their respective fields, the new faculty will contribute to ongoing initiatives to build cultural competency at every level within the university through strategic planning and community workshops.


“Universities have a crucial role to play in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action by integrating Indigenous knowledge systems into their curriculum, pedagogy and governance,” says Gillian Siddall, President of ECU. “One of the most important ways we can do this is to increase the number of Indigenous faculty at the university who can lead that process. Hiring five faculty members at one time also creates a cohort of new Indigenous faculty and signals to both Indigenous and non-Indigenousstudents our genuine commitment to indigenization and creating a safe cultural space for Indigenous students.” 


ECU has a long history of supporting Indigenous creative practices and research methods. A concerted effort to increase Indigenousrepresentation among the faculty began in 2007, and the 2015 appointment of Richard Hill, Canada Research Chair in IndigenousStudies, marked another key milestone. 


The Aboriginal Gathering Place, a purpose-built facility designed to provide the 100 Indigenous students studying at ECU with support, cultural programming and a home away from home on campus, was established in 2010. Today, ECU offers courses such as Aboriginal Design and Technology, Studies in Contemporary Aboriginal Art, and BC Aboriginal Art History.

“Although we have amazing support throughout the Emily Carr community with working towards decolonization, there is still much to be done,” says Brenda Crabtree, a practising artist who has been leading Indigenous programming at ECU as the Director of Aboriginal Programs since 1999. “Our goal is to infuse Indigenous ways of knowing throughout the university. Hiring five new Indigenous faculty members is an important step in reaching that goal.” 

The hiring process is led by Bonne Zabolotney, ECU’s Vice-President Academic and Provost, and coincides with the recruitment of five other permanent faculty positions at the university. Interested applicants are invited to review the employment opportunities section of ECU’s website and submit their application online ( ECU will start reviewing applicants in March, and will accept applications until the positions are filled.

Nichole KapalunganComment
YVR Stars 2019 Back and Better Than Ever

It’s one of our favourite events each year: YVR Stars! The event honours the worker and volunteers who go the extra kilometre to deliver exceptional customer care at YVR. The night is both a thank-you to the more than 500 people who are nominated throughout the year as YVR Stars, and an awards show that acknowledges the top customer care stories of the year.

This year’s award winners included Securiguard and Canadian Border Service Guards employees who teamed up to help a stranded family in distress; a Dexterra customer service employee who aided an injured passenger; another Dexterra employee who helped locate and aid a travelling couple with dementia; and G4S worker who, on his own personal time, showed compassion by going out of his way to help a visitor navigate the Skytrain system.

It’s always inspiring for us to hear these stories and it feels great to be part of honouring these dedicated employees.

Elettra is responsible for event management of the YVR Stars gala, but we couldn’t do it without our amazing event suppliers and partners, SW Audiovisual, Butler Did It Catering, Simon Cooksley Event Design, DJ Jay, Kim Bellavance Photographe, and Earnest Ice Cream.

A huge thank you also to our wonderful clients - the YVR Customer Relations team - it’s both an honour and a privilege to work with you folks on this event each year.

Simone AbtComment
World Leading Mobile Game Developer Kabam to Expand North American HQ with Lease in Vancouver Centre II
VCII : Kabam - Photo.jpg

Vancouver-based mobile game developer, Kabam, today announced the next phase of its growth with the long-term lease of 105,000 square feet across seven floors at Vancouver Centre II (VCII). The project, which is being developed by GWL Realty Advisors, has a targeted completion date of 2021. VCII will be the first office tower completed in the current cycle of downtown office development.

Kabam is excited to collocate into one unified, agile work environment. The company thinks the amenities are fantastic, and they know their four-legged team members will be excited to have a special place to enjoy as well. 

“Kabam is exactly the kind of forward-thinking, industry-leading firm we had in mind when we designed VCII,” says Geoff Heu, Vice President, Development – Western Canada, GWL Realty Advisors. “With VCII’s premier location in the downtown tech hub and its direct connection to two transit lines, it’s not surprising the building is already one-third leased before excavation is even complete. With the current exceptionally low office vacancy rate of 3.9 per cent, we are confident that VCII will be fully leased prior to completion.”

Founded in 2006, Kabam has become a global leader in multi-player mobile games with blockbuster releases such as Marvel Contest of Champions,which has had more than 168 million downloads worldwide since 2014. With over 400 employees across its Vancouver, San Francisco and Austin offices, Kabam sees Vancouver as a key part of its long-term expansion plans. 

 As VCII’s lead tenant, Kabam will have access to first-class amenities, including the 29th Floor Skyline Rooftop Deck; a state-of-the-art fitness facility and yoga studio; end-of-trip cycling facilities; and dog-friendly facilities. The project is targeting LEED Platinum certification and is registered with the International WELL Building Institute™. VCII’s Wired Certificationwill ensure it has thedigital infrastructure to addresses the advanced technology needs of today and the capacity to upgrade to meet future needs.

 Kabam’s quest for a new location was driven by its long-term growth plans. After partnering with Colliers International to determine key criteria, it became evident that Kabam’s property search should be driven by the needs of current and future employees. Following a comprehensive review of available properties, Kabam found that VCII checked more boxes than any other offering and met the most important criteria for supporting Kabam’s team and their long-term growth for years to come. 

Simone AbtComment