In the beforetimes, I commuted to a large campus for work in Burnaby. The original facility was opened in 1999. It was state-of-the-art, big, and wowed most people that visited. As video games grew as industry and as the company also had more success, it necessitated an expansion. The original facility was now labelled as Phase I and the new expansion was called Phase II. Phase II opened in 2006 and it connected to Phase I via walkways.
The campus stayed like that for a long time, just Phase I and II. There was always talk about a Phase III but the world and the company went through some ups and downs. The recession hit in 2008, which was tough for the company. It culminated in yearly lay-offs, which included mine (at least twice). I wasn’t there around 2012 but I had former co-workers who stuck around tell me that once bustling floors in Phase II, so desperately needed just years before as space was needed for new employees were now filled with empty desks. Whole floors devoid of developers lost to increasing financial losses for the company. It was a grime picture being painted.
Things started to pick up in 2013 though and finances turned from losses into profits once again. Hiring began to pick up again as more work needed to be done as the company became more successful. About two years ago, the company acknowledged that space constraints had become an issue. Too many people were trying to fit into a campus designed for far less people.
We were told solutions were being explored. We didn’t know what those were. Some were hoping for a return to the downtown core, when the company had Black Box near the waterfront. I maybe biased but those were the glory days. In interim, as a stop-gap solution, several floors of an office building nearby were leased and several hundred employees were moved there to relieve capacity issues.
Rumours of Phase III began to start again. About six months ago, an e-mail was sent out confirming that some adjacent land, across the street from the existing campus would be developed into new buildings. This would allow everyone to return to the same campus plus have space for the future. This was going to be Phase III that everyone had been talking about for so long.
This week, to most employees’ surprise, we found out a lot of the details of the planned expansion have already been developed. The concept drawings how the new buildings will look was unexpected but welcomed. It doesn’t look groundbreaking but it doesn’t look bad either. The street will be changed too to accommodate the free flow of people crossing the street. Currently, the street has no pedestrian crossings between the current campus and the new buildings. A new roundabout will also be built.
I’m not sure how long it will take for these buildings to be finished or what the world will look like when they are done. I can’t wait to see them one day, hopefully in a pandemic-free world.