CITY CENTRE — From basketball hoops in the lunchroom to treadmills under desks, the new Coast Capital Savings’ “Help Headquarters” is anything but conventional.
“By design we really wanted something that’s different,” said Chris D’Silva, director of facilities management.
“Coast Capital is a different kind of organization and as a result, we wanted something that’s fun, something that’s hip, something that’s youthful.”
Driving down King George Boulevard, the vibrant, dynamic building is almost impossible to miss.
The architecture bears resemblance to the sleek ship-like lines of the award-winning City Centre Library.
“When you look at the front, there’s a big outside deck where the daycare is that sticks out and it’s kind of like the Titanic,” mused CEO Don Coulter during a media tour Tuesday. “It does look like a cruise ship. A lot of people say that.”
Inside, the design aims to increase collaboration, maximize efficiency, promote health, and yes, be “cool.”
No one has an office. Not even the CEO. Instead, open concept floors encourage connections.
Coulter said the company moved away from what is seen as a traditional head office in every way.“We have many of these small meeting rooms, breakout rooms and enclaves,” explained Coulter. “Some have these funky, portal windows.
“It’s kind of fun. Our first value at Coast is we take our business very seriously, but ourselves? Not so much.”
Other highlights include “collision zones” to stimulate interaction, adjustable desks enabling employees to stand while they work, a corporate “university” for training, wellness rooms such as quiet zones with nap pods and a gym featuring a yoga room.
State-of-the-art boardrooms have voice-tracking video conference cameras, and meeting pods, known as “Mediascape” include “technology pucks” enabling groups to share content on video screens.
And the building is LEED Gold certified.
Roughly 700 Coast Capital employees recently moved into the building next to King George SkyTrain, consolidating the company’s Central City tower offices with their previous headquarters next to Guildford Town Centre.
The company now takes up about 120,000 square feet of the roughly 185,000-square-foot-site.
So why did Canada’s largest credit union by membership choose Surrey for its new headquarters?
Well, Coast Capital’s story began in the city.
“Our roots are here, where one of our founding credit unions, Surrey Metro Savings, was established,” he revealed. “We like that.”
But of course it wasn’t history alone. Surrey is the place to be, according to Coulter.
“We see Surrey as an economic engine for the province, and Surrey Central as a head office hub of the future,” said Coulter.
Being adjacent to King George SkyTrain was a big draw, and knowing LRT is planned along the highway was another bonus.
To make way for the new building, the landmark Surrey Inn was demolished.
The 81-room hotel, which had occupied 9850 King George Blvd. since 1974, was replaced by the 10-storey building, which Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner described as “striking.”
“I’m thrilled they have the sense of architecture that building brings to the city,” said Hepner. “I’m over the moon that I can refer to now, the City Centre, as the financial district of Surrey given that both Coast Capital and Westminster Savings are in the core of the city now.
“It goes along with the regional growth and certainly the most recent story around the kinds of growth we’re experiencing in residential also flows over into commercial and industrial so we can balance that out with jobs.
“It nicely rounds out the package,” she added.
Yet to come as part of the site’s redevelopment, called “the HUB,” is 345,000 square feet of retail space and more than a million square feet of condominiums.
When completed, the development hopes to be “the crossroads of the new downtown Surrey.”