Vancouver’s grey art deco city hall building has been housing a secret for more than a year: the top seven floors of the 11-storey tower are completely empty. Last summer, the entire engineering department moved into a newly built 86,000-square-foot commercial space that the city has leased for $41 million over the next 10 years. The city spent another $7 million to outfit and move the department. The move came in the same year the city laid off 158 people and raised taxes to cover a $61-million shortfall in its $961-million budget. This and another move involving the social development, housing, and cultural affairs departments were done in the absence of a master plan. As for the vacant floors, plans for the future aren’t certain and the city hasn’t yet approved a budget for repopulating at least five of the seven empty floors.
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.