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Best Buy’s new HQ looks to the future of remote work

Tech retailer to begin relocation from Burnaby in May 2022
Best Buy's new headquarters in Mount Pleasant assumes that workers will work from home first and come to the office as needed | Photo: Submitted

With public health restrictions lifting and workers returning to offices, Best Buy Canada is preparing to welcome its own staff to a new headquarters in Vancouver with the assumption that they won’t always want to be on site.

“When we bring people into the office it will be with purpose,” said Phil Johnston, director, construction and properties with Best Buy Canada.

The new headquarters at 425 West 6th Avenue just east of Cambie Street will occupy the top five floors of the building, developed and owned by Cressey Development Group. Best Buy has leased 77,500 square feet. This is just over half the space it has at its current location at 8800 Glenlyon Parkway in Burnaby. Tenant improvements are underway, with a phased move-in planned for May.

The building’s proximity to urban amenities as well as rapid transit made it a good fit for Best Buy. The location has the network infrastructure that supports remote working, something that has drawn several technology companies to the area.

“The building was very suitable, it was in a location that we liked, and through our tenant improvements we were able to do the things that would enable our remote-first working methodology for our employees,” Johnston said.

This goes beyond having a desk and a phone available for employees, both of which are less important now than collaborative spaces and screens that facilitate communications among staff operating from multiple locations.

While the current offices have more than 1,000 traditional desks, the new headquarters will have just 270 traditional desks and about 400 spaces for collaborative working.

“Through the pandemic we’ve learned a lot about what’s possible and what type of things truly can be done remotely and what type of things we want to be able to get people together for,” Johnston said.

This also responds to growing momentum for more flexible work arrangements.

Before the pandemic, co-working and shared office spaces were heralded as challenging and transforming traditional office space. Shared spaces were tipped as allowing for a more flexible and dynamic workforce that might shift in both number and working hours.

But the shift to hybrid work environments – on site and online – during the pandemic has created a new dimension to office life.

“In any meeting that you have, there very likely will be people in-person and people virtually,” Johnston said.

425 West 6th


Cressey Development Group built 425 West 6th knowing its proximity to rapid transit and the amenities of the Broadway corridor would appeal to prospective tenants | Photo: Submitted

Cressey broke ground on the building in 2019, proceeding on spec before the pandemic’s impacts were known. Its focus was on providing new, high-quality space in the region’s most active office market outside downtown Vancouver.

The plans took into account green design criteria such as electric-vehicle charging stations with a view to securing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification. Proximity to transit was also important, with the building near both the Broadway-City Hall Canada line station as well as a future stop for the Millennium line extension to Arbutus.

“Location is the most important thing,” said Hani Lammam, executive vice-president with Cressey.

Other tenants that have committed to space in the building include animation studio Bardel Entertainment Inc., robotics firm Sanctuary Cognitive Systems Corp., and Sequel Naturals Ltd., which market nutritional supplements under the Vega name.

Two floors in the 177,500-square-foot building have yet to be leased. Lammam said Cressey is in negotiations with “an upscale fitness company” for the remaining space.