Executive Place has its first tenant — and it’s a big one.
Stantec Inc. announced Wednesday it is relocating its Red Deer operations to the 4900 50th St. office building. The design consulting firm will occupy the top five floors of the 12-storey building.
Russ Wlad, Stantec’s vice-president for Central and Northern Alberta, said design and construction work will take place over the next six to seven months.
“We expect to be in, hopefully, by early 2012.”
Stantec has more than 160 people working in Red Deer, with most of these currently a block east in the Professional Building.
“It’s quite broken up and we were crammed in some areas,” said Wlad, adding that Stantec will go from about 28,000 square feet to 38,000 square feet.
“We hope to see future growth and expansion beyond that, but that’s the initial indication of the space requirements that we’ll need.”
Many of Stantec’s local employees gathered on the 11th floor of Executive Place Wednesday afternoon to get a look at their future workplace.
“It’s really nice to see all the smiles and excitement,” said Wlad.
Among those beaming was Doug Cannam, development manager with Norcan Development Corp. Norcan’s sister company, Clark Builders, is a joint-venture partner in Executive Place with Beca International Ltd.
Cannam stressed the significance of getting a reputable company like Stantec to commit to the building.
“It’s vitally important for us,” he said, explaining that other related businesses like accountants, consultants and lawyers might now be attracted to the remaining space there.
“We don’t expect to have a rush tomorrow morning, but we think it will make a material difference.”
Glenn Moore, a Realtor with Advantage Commercial and a leasing agent for the property, agreed.
“Possibly this will be a catalyst that will kick-start more activity.”
Completed a year ago, the $40-million building has been the victim of a soft leasing market following the recession.
“It has been frustrating, but out of our hands with what’s happened to the economy,” said Cannam.
The developers considered reducing the size of the building during construction, he added, but felt this would detract from the downtown.
Wlad said Stantec’s decision to occupy Executive Place also reflects its commitment to Red Deer’s downtown.
“We understand and we see the vision of the city to revitalize this area and we want to be part of it,” he said.
Wlad said Stantec officials were also impressed with the building, and relish the opportunity to customize the empty space there.
“Our own architects and engineers will be able to design the space for our needs.”
Features will include lots of natural light, open spaces, efficient working areas and gathering spaces for collaborative work, he said.
Founded in 1954, Stantec provides design and consulting services in planning, architecture, landscaping, building, transportation, environmental engineering and land development. It operates in more than 170 locations in North America, with its Red Deer office responsible for Central and Northern Alberta, excluding Edmonton.
“So there’s a lot of work that’s being done in other centres like Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie, and other offices that work with this office,” said Wlad.
In 2009, Stantec received a Red Deer Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award.