MEC, Canada’s outdoor gear, know-how and inspiration, broke ground on its new Vancouver flagship store.

The three-storey, 60,000-square-foot building will be located at the eastern gateway to Olympic Village, one of the world’s most sustainable neighborhoods and an area that offers strong synergy with the MEC brand.

Through the new store’s products and services, programs and passionate employees, MEC Vancouver’s reputation as a hub for outdoor activity promises to grow, in complement to the active lifestyles available in Olympic Village.

Joined at a news conference by Vancouver’s mayor as well as the president of Beedie Development, which owns the site, MEC CFO Sandy Treagus said: “Today marks a milestone in the 46-year history of our co-op in Vancouver. In two years, MEC’s stunning new flagship store will serve our 450,000 local members from an area that is teeming with outdoor spirit, as well as target environmental and conservation standards that align with our brand.”

Designed by Proscenium Architecture & Interiors to a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold standard, the development will include two levels of retail, a third floor with office and amenity space, three levels of underground parking and more than 50 bike parking stalls.

Beedie has owned the site at 2nd Avenue and Quebec Street since 2007. When construction of the new store is complete in mid-2019, MEC will operate the purpose-built, high-performance green building on a leasehold basis from Beedie for at least 20 years.

“It’s hard to imagine a more perfect fit than MEC for our gateway site to Olympic Village,” said Ryan Beedie, president of Beedie, a local company founded more than 60 years ago. “We are thrilled to partner with such an iconic and respected local company, and we appreciate the active involvement of the City of Vancouver in helping us all make this project a reality.”

“It’s exciting to break ground on MEC’s new flagship store in Olympic Village, which will give a boost to one of Vancouver’s core green and active neighbourhoods,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “MEC has long been a cornerstone of Vancouver’s green economy, creating jobs for people who live and work in Vancouver, and contributing to our efforts as we strive to become the greenest city in the world by 2020. MEC’s flagship store will enhance Vancouver’s urban active community by connecting residents to the outdoors, and I’m looking forward its opening.”

MEC’s Olympic Village location will replace its store at 130 West Broadway, which the Vancouver-based retailer has occupied since 1995. Not only is that building coming to the end of its useful life, MEC’s lease on the property will have expired.

MEC operates four other stores in British Columbia: North Vancouver, Victoria, Langley and Kelowna. MEC Kelowna opened in April 2016, and since then MEC has opened four other new stores and relocated three more to larger premises. The co-op has more than one million members in BC. MEC has 22 stores across Canada.

Like its Kelowna cousin, MEC’s flagship store in Olympic Village will feature a significantly different interior design from the existing Vancouver store. With extensive use of wood for merchandising and a “store within a store” approach for categories like cycling, the design provides an immersive shopping experience and aims to inspire people to be active outdoors.