Central Steam Plant site redevelopment includes new office space, second plant

Westbank Central Steam Plant
A rendering of an upcoming proposal for the Central Steam Plant next to BC Place. Credit: Jane Chu/Bjarke Ingels

A proposal to remake the Creative Energy steam plant into a mixed-use development is gathering steam.

The plan by Creative Energy — owned by Westbank — calls for seismic upgrades to the existing Central Steam Plant at Beatty and Georgia, and the addition of approximately 18 storeys of office space, with ground floor retail surrounding the plant.

Creative Energy steam plant use
The new building will be made up of primarily office use, with retail on the ground floor, and a small retail building on Expo Blvd. Credit: Creative Energy

Second plant at BC Place

A new plant would be built at the base of BC Place along Expo Blvd., in the area where the fans that inflated the original BC Place domed roof were stored.

The new plant would be capable of supplying steam to half of Creative Energy’s customer base on the coldest day of the year.

New BC Place steam plant
Location of new steam plant adjacent to BC Place. Credit: Creative Energy
Creative Energy steam plant BC Place
Location of new steam plant adjacent to BC Place on Expo Blvd. Credit: Creative Energy

Vancouver House architect involved

The architect for the project is Bjarke Ingels — also the architect behind Westbank’s Vancouver House tower next to the Granville Street bridge.

The Central Steam Plant opened in 1968 and was purchased in 2014 by Westbank for $32 million.

A 2015 city report said the existing steam plant could be re-engineered and integrated into the development as a back-up function, or relocated off-site.

The report also indicated 300,000-350,000 sq ft. of office/commercial and a 300,000-400,000 sq ft. of secured market rental housing was possible on the site.

No formal application has been filed with the city at this time. Creative Energy will also require approval from the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), and plans to submit the proposal this year, with construction to start on the BC Place plant in late 2018.