Lighting up Edmonton’s new EPCOR Tower

At 6:30am this morning, EPCOR President & CEO Don Lowry officially “flipped the switch” to light the sign atop the new EPCOR Tower, the latest milestone in the construction of EPCOR’s new corporate headquarters.

EPCOR Tower Light Up

The sign is unique in Edmonton, as it is the first to feature programmable RGB lighting in lettering. Every 15 seconds or so, the color of the sign changes from left to right. Currently it cycles between blue, green, orange, and yellow. Each letter is nine feet high, which sounds large but looks relatively small compared to some other downtown signs. Of course there are actually two signs, one on the north side and one on the south side, both on the 29th floor. Here’s a video that shows the sign changing color:

Last night the purple lights at the top of the building were pulsing, but my understanding is that won’t happen normally. For more on this morning’s ceremony, check out Brittney’s excellent recap.

It was a little over three and a half years ago that EPCOR entered into a 20-year lease with Qualico:

EPCOR plans to occupy approximately 265,000 square feet on the top floors of the new 28-storey office tower, with options to scale its space requirements up or down during the term of the lease. The 20-year Lease secures enough space to meet EPCOR’s current and long-term needs.

The new building carries EPCOR’s name, but it belongs to Qualico. It is the first piece of the Station Lands project, designed by Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd., with construction management services provided by Ledcor Construction. It was originally known as “Station Lands Tower A”. Thanks to the spires on top it is officially the tallest building in Edmonton, edging out Manulife Place (which was completed in 1983) by just 3.4 meters (though Manulife has eleven more floors). The last office building to be constructed downtown was Commerce Place, completed in 1990. You can learn much more about EPCOR Tower in this thread.

In my opinion, one of the neatest things about the new building is that it is the first downtown office tower in Edmonton to be built during the age of ubiquitous cameras. Nearly everyone walks around with a camera now, whether it is a cell phone camera, a point-and-shoot digital camera, or a fancy DSLR. That means the construction of the new EPCOR Tower has been documented by Edmontonians themselves. Like the Icon towers before it, you don’t have to look further than Flickr to see the evolution of the EPCOR Tower.

This is an early shot of the construction, taken by cdnklc on September 9, 2008:

raft1

This photo by Dave was taken on February 5, 2009 and shows some of the early construction work:

EPCOR Tower (Future)

This photo by Darren on November 2, 2009 shows the tower starting to rise:

Epcor Tower 2009-11-02

By April 2010, the building was being covered in glass:

Epcor Tower

This photo was taken by me on August 26, 2010 not long after the building was topped out:

Epcor Tower

This shot from Spi11 taken on October 4, 2010 shows the building in context with the rest of downtown (also check out this aerial photo):

Epcor Tower (construction, aerial) h

I took this photo on April 29, 2011, the day they put the signage up on the building:

EPCOR Tower

And then of course, we have today (you can see the sign changing color):

EPCOR Tower Light Up

EPCOR will begin moving from its current offices at EPCOR Centre in about a month. They’ll occupy floors 20 through 28, while Capital Power will take floors 9 through 12. They’re not the first to move in, however. That honor went to the federal Department of Justice, which recently moved from TD Tower. EPCOR’s lease at EPCOR Centre expires at the end of the year.

What will happen to the old EPCOR Centre? That building, designed by Kenneth C. Saunders Architect Ltd. and completed in 1975, was originally known as Capital Square. It will now become the anchor piece of First&Jasper, GE Real Estate’s new downtown project, expected to be completed by early 2013. Naming rights are still available. You can read more about the project here.

I think the new EPCOR Tower is a fine way to mark EPCOR’s 120th anniversary as a company!

You can see the rest of my photos from this morning’s event here.