The first new office tower built in downtown St. John’s in 25 years received its official opening Wednesday night, and John Lindsay couldn’t be happier.
You don’t know how incredibly good it feels and how pleased we are,” said the president of East Port Properties, the company responsible for developing the six-storey building.
A celebration for the official opening of 351 — located at 351 Water St. — welcomed people involved in all aspects of work to see the project through to its completion, including builders, site supervisors, designers and others.
“Tonight is just an opportunity to say thank you to all of them,” said Lindsay.
Tenants will begin moving into the building next month. The parking garage is already open and free to use for the next few days. People will pay to park there as of July 2.
“But right now, if somebody wanted to go down, they could drive in,” said Lindsay.
Husky Energy will occupy office space on five floors, with marine engineering and construction firm Subsea 7 using one floor. Lindsay said Husky was originally planning to use only four floors, but decided to take another during construction.
The biggest challenge in building the 168,000-square-foot tower was establishing the foundation, according to Lindsay.
“It is not a hard piece of granite. It’s a much more geologically complex and fractured area, and it was challenging to get down to the depths of sound rock. ... That was by far the most challenging part. Once we came out of the earth, then all of the other elements started to go extremely well.”
A unique feature of the building involves its heating and cooling system, which will mostly rely on seawater air conditioning and seawater heating with help from technology.
In addition to the official opening celebration, a commissioned piece of artwork will be permanently displayed in the main lobby of 351. Conceived by St. John’s visual artist Will Gill, “Black Island Punt” adds colour to the large frame of a traditional Newfoundland punt through small pieces of stained glass. Boatbuilder Jerome Canning assisted Gill in realizing the finished art piece, which was also unveiled Wednesday.