Hines is one of the largest privately held real estate investors, managers and developers in the world. Founded in 1957, the organization has a presence in 225 cities in 25 countries and $144.1 billion of assets under management. Hines has 165 developments currently underway globally, and historically, has developed, redeveloped, or acquired 1,426 properties totaling over 472 million square feet. The firm’s current property and asset management portfolio includes 576 properties, representing over 246 million square feet.
Reliance Properties Ltd. is a privately owned Vancouver company that has been contributing to the city’s architectural heritage for more than 50 years. The firm provides proactive management and maintenance for all its properties and provides in-house leasing, maintenance, architectural and tenant improvement services.
In March 2021, Hines and Reliance announced their joint venture partnership to co-develop a 32-storey, Class AAA office tower at 1166 West Pender in Downtown Vancouver. The office project marks Hines’ foray into Vancouver and will be the most significant office development to be undertaken in the city since the onset of the global pandemic in March 2020.
Strong relationships and connection the foundation for success
David’s long-standing relationship with Reliance was strengthened five years ago when David acted on behalf of Reliance in the acquisition of 1166 West Pender Street.Upon purchasing the building, Reliance planned to rezone and redevelop it once then tenant Canada Revenue Agency relocated.
In the meantime, David kept communication lines open with Reliance. And it was just over a year ago when he and Jon Stovell, President and CEO of Reliance, had a conversation about Reliance’s co-development aspirations in Vancouver.
Robert’s relationship with Hines dates back more than five years. With presence in Toronto and Calgary, the international real estate firm had been, for a decade, seeking to enter the Vancouver market. For the last several years, Robert had been connecting with Hines’ John Wilbeck, Managing Director, and Syl Apps, Senior Managing Director, on prospective projects for Hines to undertake in the city that suited Hines’ development vision and requirements, as well as on potential development partners that could help Hines further expand its portfolio.
Working with Robert, Hines was close to securing a property in Vancouver’s Railtown district, but the transaction failed to materialize. Fortunately, an even greater opportunity came to be, thanks to Robert and David’s strong working relationship and ongoing communication.
Recognizing that 1166 West Pender was just the type of property Hines seeks to develop and knowing that David had facilitated its sale to Reliance, Robert enquired on the status of the building. David put forward that Reliance would possibly be open to a partnership to develop 1166 West Pender.
The team then set the transaction in motion.
A meeting of the minds leads to a groundbreaking partnership, solidified the pandemic
It was late in 2019 when David and Robert made the introduction between Reliance and Hines. At this stage, 1166 West Pender was close to obtaining development permit approval. John Wilbeck and Syl Apps recognized Reliance as a highly active buyer in the Downtown Vancouver market and hence, a strategic partner with whom they could work to grow Hines’ portfolio.
This meeting signaled the start of a landmark partnership.
The transaction progressed in Spring 2020, at the height of the pandemic. All discussions and negotiations transpired virtually via Zoom, an aspect the Colliers team described as “pretty extraordinary”.
The transaction closed in March 2021.
A first-of-its-kind Vancouver office tower
In the words of Hines, the new 1166 West Pender will be “the first office building in Vancouver that will incorporate new health, safety and wellness initiatives into the building architecture.”
The buildingwill target LEED, WELL and certifications, and will offer numerous features promoting tenant health and experience:
The entire third floor will consist of an innovative indoor and outdoor space with amenities including an employee lounge and collaboration area, a modular conference facility, a spa-quality fitness and wellness , and best-in-market end-of-trip facilities
The top nine levels will feature private outdoor terraces with nature and city views, elevating adherence to health, safety and wellness protocols
Underground parking will be fitted with more bike stalls than parking stalls to support employee wellness and further sustainability practices
The new 1166 West Pender is slated for completion in late 2024 or early 2025, with Hines managing the building.
“The partnership between Reliance and Hines is a milestone on several fronts,” says David Taylor, Senior Vice President with Colliers Vancouver Brokerage. “It’s not every day that we see two powerhouse developers with a similar mindset join forces to not only partner, but to co-develop a project. This venture – and the resulting building –point to the renewed of the Vancouver office market, and will be a real asset to both developers, the city, and 1166 West Pender’s future tenants.”
“1166 West Pender marks Hines’ entry into Vancouver, bringing a new and significant player to the market,” says Robert Down, Vice President with Colliers Vancouver Brokerage. “This mandate certainly will not be Hines’ last, with this global real estate firm setting out to grow its Vancouver portfolio, especially having had its eye on the city for a decade. By solidly establishing itself in this market, Hines will not only be building properties – it will also be creating industry and economic opportunity and growth, which are surely welcome bright spots following a volatile time for the sector.”