While the real estate around Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver, B.C., may get a touch more congested, three new office and residential towers surrounding the 18,600-seat NHL venue will actually free up space within the 18-year-old arena.
Construction has already started on the first of three new towers, the West Tower, on property adjacent to Rogers Arena. The same group, the Aquilinis family, owns all three towers and Rogers Arena and plans to utilize those connections, quite literally, in fact.
With planned heights of 24, 28 and 32 stories, the three new mixed-use structures will ring the arena. But it's the 24-story West Tower that has the most linking intrigue. Not only will the building connect to the Georgia Viaduct, but also Rogers Arena itself.
The viaduct tie-in doesn’t come without risk, however, as the city has long discussed enacting plans to remove both the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, forcing the Aquilinis family to have a backup plan if that comes to pass. But the Rogers Arena remodel doesn’t come with the same risks, just excitement for the Vancouver Canucks and fans.
The first five floors of the new tower will have some sort of direction connection to Rogers Arena, also home to countless concerts and other events. The tight footprint of the arena will get some breathing room, at least on the west side, as the first, second and third floors of the tower will allow portions of the arena’s concourse to expand, creating ample room to maneuver the ring of the venue.
Along with more elbowroom, the first and third floor expansions will present fans additional concession choices. The highlight on the second floor will certainly be a 25 percent increase in available restrooms.
The fourth floor of the tower represents a new effort for the Canucks as the team tries to create a sports bar inside the arena accessible to those both with and without game day tickets. As the Vancouver Sun reports, the concept mimics that of a large Las Vegas club that features differing sections and services in one venue. The idea gives fans with tickets a new bar option prior to, during and after the game and those without tickets a chance to partake in at least a portion of the Rogers Arena experience.
The fifth floor will also tie to the arena with a party suite for large groups. The remainder of the tower will house offices—including the Canucks’ corporate offices—and residential units on the upper floors.
With construction started in April, plans call for opening the Rogers Arena changes just prior to the start of the 2014-15 season, a little over a year away. Plan for one more year of tight spaces, both inside and outside Rogers Arena. After that, things change.
Tim Newcomb is Engineering News-Record’s Pacific Northwest contributor. He also writes for TIME, Popular Mechanics, Sports Illustrated and more. You can follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb or visit his website here.