Standing on the 55th floor of Surrey’s Civic Hotel, you feel like you could touch heaven.
Or, at least, have a sense of how King Kong must’ve felt.
It’s a profound understatement to say the view from the top of the tallest building south of the Fraser River is spectacular. The Now-Leader and other media toured the skycraper hotel’s top floor as construction crews prepared to mount its 13-foot-high diamond-shaped sign atop the hotel under construction at 13475 Central Ave., in the heart of the city’s downtown.
The Civic Hotel is one of Marriott International’s prestigious “Autograph Collection” of 50 luxury hotels worldwide. The chain has 3,800 hotels but the only other Marriott hotel in the same class as Surrey’s in Canada is the 120-year-old St. Andrews By-the-Sea in New Brunswick.
“We are here to put up the sign of the Civic Hotel, which is a diamond,” said Franklin Jackson, general manager. “It is an historic occasion for the hotel, and the building and for Surrey.”
David Bowyer, project director, ITC Construction Group, said the building is 540 feet tall. It features 144 guest rooms and suites, a cafe, restaurant, a conference floor with two ballrooms, more than 8,000-square-feet of meeting space and the rooftop deck for private events. “I believe it’s the third highest in the Lower Mainland, Bowyer said.
“All’s come together with the architectural and the consulting group and it’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s been three and a half years; it’s come together quite well.”
The 63-storey Trump International Hotel and Tower in downtown Vancouver is the province’s tallest, followed by Vancouver’s Shangri-La skyscraper, at 62 storeys.
Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said the hotel is “enormously important to Surrey because it does a couple of things. It provided a much-needed hotel at the higher end of chains and we’ve needed that for a very long time. It’s providing office space that is critical in our core and it’s advancing Surrey as a university district with five of its floors going directly to Kwantlen Polytechnic University.”
It’s also taller than anything Burnaby has got. “It’s not a competition,” Hepner said, “but I am proud to say this is going to be a landmark building in our regional centre.
“Not a competition, but we will win the game, yes,” she chuckled.
Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, said the Surrey tower will be an “icon” for the city. “It’s on the transit line, it’s going to be a place where we can have advanced corporate events, where people can enjoy music, it is going to be a place where businesses, community organizations, everyone can get together. It’s going to be a focal point for Surrey, with the library, with city hall, and it’s all part of the revitalization of city centre.”
She expects the hotel’s “unique, state-of the-art” architecture will “result in opportunities not only for business but for film locations.”
Like another remake of King Kong?
“It’ll be perfect,” Huberman agreed.