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It’s game time for Electronic Arts expansion project in Burnaby

Grant Cameron
It’s game time for Electronic Arts expansion project in Burnaby
COURTESY DIALOG DESIGN — Preliminary work is underway in the Discovery Park area of Burnaby, B.C., which is making way for a large-scale expansion project that includes two commercial office buildings and a parkade. One of the buildings is an addition to the Canadian headquarters of gaming company Electronic Arts. The building will accommodate up to 600 employees.

Excavation work is underway at a 13-acre site north of Sanderson Way in the Discovery Park area of Burnaby, B.C., to make way for a large-scale expansion project that includes two commercial office buildings and a parkade.

One of the buildings is an addition to the Canadian headquarters of California-based Electronic Arts (EA), the second-largest video gaming company by revenue in the Americas and Europe. The building will accommodate up to 600 employees.

A skybridge over Sanderson Way will also be built to connect the new structure to the company’s main buildings on a 17-acre campus to the south that employs about 1,300 people.

Kingswood Capital Corporation, owned by Vancouver businessman Joseph Segal, is building the massive design-build project in partnership with Canadian Turner Construction Company. Local architectural firm Dialog designed the structures.

Amit Patel, vice-president and general manager at Turner, said the company was proud to be chosen as a partner for the project and the venture is near and dear to his heart for both the Turner family and his own.

“We are grateful for this opportunity that Kingswood Capital Corporation and EA has provided us to help transform the commercial landscape of Burnaby.”

Work on the concrete buildings began last October. Turner plans to have the buildings completed in summer 2024.

Marc Narduzzi, senior project manager at Turner Construction, said at a recent groundbreaking ceremony at the site: “We are bringing a fantastic development and hundreds of jobs to the Burnaby community, which will further identify Burnaby’s presence as a leader in gaming and technology in North America.”

The project is flanked by the British Columbia Institute of Technology to the east and Burnaby Hospital to the west.

The two buildings on the property will each be three storeys tall. One building will be 180,000 square feet, the second one 120,000 square feet – adding a combined total of 300,000 square feet of Class A office space.

The project also includes three levels of underground parking, an urban plaza between the two buildings that acts as a connector through the site, an enhanced street presence on Sanderson Way and two large rain gardens.

The new building will increase EA’s present campus to 580,000 from 400,000 square feet. Features of the building include an end-of-trip facility with lockers, change rooms, accessible shower amenities and washrooms, a bike storage area, 900 parking spaces and the skybridge.

The project site, between Willingdon Avenue and Gilmore Way, is owned by Kingswood and EA has entered into a lease agreement for the larger of the two buildings.

Bulk excavation work is ongoing and a shoring wall is being installed along the south side of the property along Sanderson Way, which is the foundation of the parkade. Excavation is expected to continue until spring. Construction services company Matcon Canada is doing the work.

A spokesman for Turner told the Journal of Commerce the main challenges to the project so far are non-construction related.

“Supply chain issues, labour shortages, weather, these are all issues somewhat out of our control,” said the spokesman. “We are working with all our trade partners to minimize the impact to the project. Thankfully, we have plenty of time to plan ahead to eliminate some of these issues. Weather is a day-to-day challenge.”

The entire building and parkade are cast-in-place concrete and the facade will be a combination of Kingspan insulated panels and various glazing systems, along with storefront and curtain wall and punched windows.

An interesting feature of the buildings is the large floorplates. The building will have roughly 60,000-square-foot floorplates. The second building is a little smaller with 40,000-square-foot floorplates. Both buildings will have large atriums in the centre of the structures to provide ample daylight.

EA, which is known for developing NHL and FIFA video games, is also expanding into the city of Vancouver. The company is planning to move into the former headquarters of outdoor equipment retailer MEC in False Creek Flats in the spring.

The building is close to other tech companies and post-secondary institutes such as the Centre for Digital Media and Vancouver Community College.

MEC sold the 120,000-square-foot building at 1077 Great Northern Way to Low Tide Properties and PCI Developments for $103 million earlier this year. The four-storey complex was built to LEED Platinum standard.

Previously, EA had office space in the top four levels of an office building near Canada Place in downtown Vancouver. The employees moved into the Burnaby campus in 2009.

Although it is expanding into Vancouver, the company intends to keep its Canadian headquarters in Burnaby.

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