Amazon will begin moving into the South Tower of The Post in Downtown Vancouver starting this fall and is still set to occupy the North Tower as well, said Amazon Canada's Senior Manager of Corporate Communications Kristin Gable during a media tour of the building on Thursday.
The news quells, at least temporarily, industry murmurs and concerns that the tech giant would reduce its lease at The Post.
Those concerns arose following a March 2023 announcement by CEO Andy Jassy that the company would be laying off 9,000 more employees, after already laying off 18,000 in January in a wave of layoffs that also hit employees at Alphabet, Microsoft, and Meta, all of which cited economic conditions.
Also in March, Amazon paused construction on a portion of its HQ2 that's being built in Arlington, Virginia, further stoking concerns that the company was slowing down the pace of its growth after a decade of rapid expansion.
In Vancouver, Amazon was announced as the anchor tenant of The Post on April 30, 2018 -- by no less than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself -- with QuadReal Property Group, the developers of the building, saying at the time that Amazon would be occupying 35% of The Post's 1.13 million sq. ft of office space.
In February 2019, after backing out of its HQ2 plans in New York City, Amazon said an estimated 25,000 jobs that were slated for New York would instead be redistributed to various cities across North America, including Vancouver.
It was then reported in November 2019 that Amazon would be expanding its presence in Vancouver and lease both the South Tower and North Tower of The Post. Amazon confirmed the news in September 2020 when it announced it would be leasing an additional 680,000 sq. ft and become the sole corporate tenant of The Post, bringing an additional 3,000 corporate and tech jobs.
Office space and a kitchen space inside the South Tower of The Post. (Courtesy of Amazon Canada)
Amazon also leases the entire nine-storey office building developed by Oxford Properties on 402 Dunsmuir Street that's next door to The Post, as well as space within the Telus Garden building on 510 W Georgia, The Exchange on 475 Howe Street, and another QuadReal building on 745 Thurlow Street.
Asked if there are plans to consolidate its employees into The Post, Gable said there are currently no plans to do so, but that employees may be shuffled around across the various buildings to consolidate project teams.
The Main Post Office
Originally known as the Main Post Office, the building on 349 W Georgia Street was the largest in Vancouver, as well as the largest welded steel structure in the world, when it opened in 1958.
The building included "state-of-the-art engineering and technology, such as ramps and elevators to move trucks between levels, and a 730-metre-long underground conveyor belt system linking the building with Waterfront Station," according to a 2018 conservation plan prepared for the building by Donald Luxton Associates, who specialize in heritage projects.
However, after the Canada Post Corporation Act came into effect on October 16, 1981, which abolished the Post Office Department and created the present day Crown Corporation, the Main Post Office become redundant, and was subsequently decommissioned.
In January 2013, Canada Post sold the building to the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), a provider of investment management services for British Columbia's public sector, for around $130M, and moved their operations to Richmond, closer to Vancouver International Airport.
In June 2016, the BCI launched the real estate-focused QuadReal Property Group and assumed the property portfolios that were managed by external firms, including Bentall Kennedy, which merged with GreenOak Real Estate in December 2018 to form BentallGreenOak.
Plans to redevelop the site were proposed multiple times and took multiple forms, all of which would see new towers built atop the existing Main Post Office building, a protected heritage building listed in the City of Vancouver Heritage Register. The proposals were originally for residential uses and include plans for five towers of various heights, and later three towers, before finally settling on a 21-storey South Tower and a 22-storey North Tower completely for commercial use.
Renderings of the public retail components of The Post. (QuadReal Property Group / MCMP Architects)
The multi-purpose court on the roof of the podium (left) and the roof of the South Tower. (Courtesy of Amazon Canada)
With over 1 million sq. ft of office space, The Post is the single largest office building in Vancouver, with approximately 200,000 sq. ft of retail space in the podium below, which will be occupied by a Loblaw CityMarket, a food court, a pharmacy, and more. The building will also include various bicycle and end-of-trip facilities, a fitness centre, dog run space on the roof of the office towers, and a multi-purpose sports court on the roof of the podium between the two towers.
Structural construction has largely been completed and both office towers have been built. The office interiors of the South Tower are nearing completion, with the floorplans set and various rooms and spaces built, while the North Tower and the retail concourse in the podium are not expected to be completed until a later date.