Last August, Stantec Inc. celebrated its plans to move into Red Deer’s Executive Place with a reception in the cavernous upper floors of the downtown office building.
On Thursday, staff and guests of the architectural design and engineering firm were again on site clinking wine glasses — only this time, the surroundings looked more finished.
In fact, Stantec relocated from its patchwork of office space in the Professional Building a block east earlier this month. About 190 employees now occupy the eighth to 12th floors of Executive Place, as well as half of the seventh.
Since last summer, Stantec has invested more than $3 million in the 4900 50th St. building to prepare it for use. That work included extending an open stairway between the 11th and 12 floors of the 12-storey structure down to the 10th floor.
“We cut a hole in the floor, so it was quite a bit of work,” said Russ Wlad, Stantec’s vice-president for Central and Northern Alberta.
But, he added, the cost and effort has been worth it.
“We’re particularly pleased with the way it’s turned out,” said Wlad. “It’s a very open design concept, so it promotes collaboration and working together. It’s a great environment for our clients and staff.”
The floors feature an open layout with natural light, and a high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air-conditioning.
“I’ve already noticed an increased sense of morale and overall general happiness in the staff,” said Wlad. “It’s had a real positive impact so far.”
Stantec used recycled materials and other environmentally sustainable construction practices in the project, and is applying for a silver level of certification under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.
“That’s the new way that things are going and we certainly promote that,” said Wlad of such environmental stewardship.
“It’s the right thing to do.”
Red Deer is already an important centre for Stantec, which operates from more than 190 locations across North America and four more internationally.
“This office is a hub of what we would call the Alberta central-northern region, which now includes everything north of us, right through to Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Cold Lake — all of the northern communities we deal with, outside of the city of Edmonton.
“This has really become a northern hub for Stantec, and we’ll see a lot of future growth based on that.”
The space Stantec is leasing in Executive Place could accommodate at least 250 people, said Wlad, and the company has the opportunity to expand downward if it needs more space.
“This will help our growth.”
Executive Place was completed in 2010 at a cost of about $40 million. But tenants have been slow to step forward, due in large part to the economic uncertainty in the wake of the recession.
Founded in 1954, Stantec provides design and consulting services in planning, architecture, landscaping, building, transportation, environmental engineering and land development. In 2009, Stantec received a Red Deer Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award.