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Irving Oil Unwraps Details On New HQ

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Ian Whitcomb, president of Irving Oil, at the building's announcement in February.

SAINT JOHN – Irving Oil revealed details about its new headquarters at a big company event in uptown Saint John on Wednesday.

A large crowd of Irving Oil employees and dignitaries gathered under a giant white tent at the new HQ location, beside the city’s Imperial Theatre.

Irving Oil has hired Toronto-based architectural firm B + H Architects and Landscape architect Alex Novell to work on the design of the new building. It will be 11 stories tall and will feature an atrium to encourage collaboration and interaction among employees. The fifth floor will feature an outdoor terrace.

The building exterior will draw on the historic facades of its surrounding neighbours.

The new building will consolidate about 1000 of Irving Oil’s Saint John employees who are currently scattered throughout five offices in the city. That will nearly double the number of the company’s employees working in the city’s uptown.

“We’re putting a very strong emphasis these days on bringing our people together and the collaboration of out people and our teams,” said Ian Whitcomb, president of Irving Oil.

“Right now we’re in five separate locations all throughout the city and we’re travelling constantly to keep connected and to keep people together. So putting everyone together in one space is going to have a big impact.”

The new building will not house employees working with the Irving Oil refinery or lubricants plant.

“The building is laid out to be a new modern interior in the city of Saint John for a very advanced workspace,” said Dan McAlister, chairman of B + H Architects. “But the exterior is to look like it’s been there for very long time and blending with its heritage surroundings. ”

The project will also be registered with the Canada Green Building Council, with certification under their LEED green building rating system. That will help ensure the building’s design and construction are built using strategies kind to both people and the environment.

The plans for the new building received a standing ovation from Irving Oil employees.

A artist rendering of the new Irving Oil HQ.

The new HQ will leave five buildings mostly empty, including the “Golden Ball” which is a landmark of the Saint John’s skyline. Whitcomb said they are still in the process of deciding what they’ll do with them.

“We’re still working on what’s going to happen to those downstream. We haven’t got that all quite figured out yet,” he said. “We have a lot of heritage and a lot of history in some of our places, we want to make sure we don’t lose that through the piece.”

Irving Oil says the project is entirely privately funded and construction will begin this spring. It’s expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete.