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.