People are now becoming more conscious of how lifestyle and environmental factors impact their well-being and are seeking health-and-wellness enhancing solutions in their daily lives. Drawing inspiration from the WELL Building Standard, Vancouver’s Keltic Development‘s latest project O2 Metrotown is tailored to enhance the work life balance by focusing on sustainability, modern lifestyle, and health.

Wellness has been cemented at the core of the building’s design. This commitment includes everything from infrastructure — air purification, water filtration and heating and cooling system — to 7,200 square feet of amenities including rooftop gardening, outdoor courtyard, and a health & fitness centre. Mike Wurm, Director of Construction at Keltic Development, joins us to discuss the company’s guiding principles, dedication to smart growth, and collaborations that went into building the O2.


What are the guiding principles at Keltic Developments’ that impact and drive performance of your projects?

The key drivers for Keltic Development is to be the leader in quality, design, and innovation in Greater Vancouver.  We want to ensure we are creating a positive and lasting impact with our developments. Our expansive portfolio consists of residential, industrial, and mixed-use developments throughout Lower Mainland, and in all our projects, our values are the foundation to how we work and operate. Growth is one of the pillars of our company culture and makes it possible for us to become stronger as an organization and further the scope of our work.

What other fundamental aspects of Keltic’s company culture play a role in shaping the organization?

There are several pillars that lay the foundation for what we do. The main value is integrity – we hold ourselves accountable to our colleagues, partners, homeowners and consistently perform in an honest and professional manner. With integrity comes respect that is extended across our team.

We build solid and long-lasting relationships through collaborations with our partners and consultants, leading to better results, and we hold ourselves to the highest standards of excellence with the quality materials and craftsmanship we provide to our clients and communities.

We embrace innovation. We are constantly exploring innovative technology and better ways of working to enhance our projects and set the curve. Transparency is also a critical value, and we believe in open and direct communication with internal teams and external shareholders that helps everyone work together towards a shared goal.

Moving towards Urbanization

Connecting Communities

The O2 is situated on Sussex Ave in South Burnaby where transit connectivity, vibrant parks, pedestrian-friendly walking trails and elevated amenities support a healthy, intentional lifestyle.

Burnaby has a smart growth vision that encourages broadening of established communities. What was it about the Metrotown neighbourhood that caught your attention when developing O2?

Metrotown is a growing urban centre that is known for reliable public transportation, dining, and shopping options. The area has a lot of existing two and three storey walk ups, and those are all in the process of redevelopment right now. Our O2 development in Metrotown is in prime location on Sussex Avenue providing an outstanding walk score of 96, 3 minute walk to the Metrotown Skytrain Station allowing you the convenience of being in downtown Vancouver in 15 minutes.

There are multiple shopping centers in Burnaby, such as Metropolis, the largest mall in British Columbia and the second largest mall in Canada, only a 4 minute walk from the O2.  It’s also close to Metrotown’s 220-acre Central Park made up of dozens of trails, ponds, and green spaces within a two-block area tying into O2’s health and wellness development, which is inspired by the WELL Building Standard concepts.

Proud Partnerships

Collaboration is Key to Project Efficiency

Teamwork is essential to Keltic Development’s success and confirms that working together boosts productivity and efficiency.

An efficient team is crucial for delivering successful projects. How does the Keltic team cultivate and strengthen a company culture that embodies a high-performance environment?

There’s certainly a desire to exceed and to do better than the rest of the development companies here in Vancouver. Our ownership expects quality and commitment in everything we do, from materials in our builds, craftmanship in our art projects, and our level of service for our clients. We have a great HR program and internal staff here, and we take pride in building an inspiring workplace, with an agile and high-performance culture. We all work well together, and all member’s contributions make a significant impact on every project we take on.

The best results come from trusted collaborations and cooperation among all parties. How crucial is the collaboration between your building partners in your delivery process?

Successful development projects like O2 rely on talented individuals who understand the big picture and the importance of collaborative teamwork to achieve market success and exceed expectations. Collaboration is key. We work close with our partners, consultants, trades, and suppliers as a team that yields better results and builds the foundation of strong, long-lasting relationships.  We are a very hands-on developer and carefully oversee the project and work closely with the contractors to ensure that everything stays on track and is progressing according to the schedule.

The principal contractor partner for O2 is Graham Construction, an innovation leader on its own merits known for delivering large scale turnkey projects across North America. The Graham team offers exceptional construction solutions and implements a set of standards and procedures that enables us to maintain efficiency and transparency throughout the project cycle.

Building Partners

dys architecture

Architecture Firm in Vancouver, British Columbia

Q&A with Norm Chin
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Graham Construction

Leading North American Construction Services and Civil Engineering provider.

Head Office: Calgary, Alberta
Q&A with Scott Fletcher, Senior Operations Manager
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LMS Reinforcing Steel Group

Steel fabricator in Surrey, British Columbia.

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Building facade and archirectural interiors specialist based out of Qatar.

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Vesta Cucine

Interior design and Kitchen Cabinets in Richmond, British Columbia.

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Accurate Materials Testing and Engineering Ltd

Concrete, Soil, and Window Testing in Metro Vancouver.

Q&A with Estelle Fitz-Morris, BA Manager, Business Development
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Nemetz (S/A) & Associates Ltd.

Electrical Engineering in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.

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Power Drywall

Drywall Contractor in Langley, British Columbia.

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Yoneda & Associates

Mechanical engineer in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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High-Performing Envelope

Designing a Sustainable Building from the Ground Up

The O2’s building envelope serves a greater purpose beyond aesthetics; it is key to the performance of the design in terms of energy codes and efficiency.

As building systems become more advanced and energy consumption becomes a prime driver in system design, it is imperative that the systems operate according to the design intent. Can you discuss the importance of the primary operating systems that drive the sustainability and performance of the O2’s building envelope?

Keltic has environmentally sustainable building practices that are built into our operations, our homes, and our building amenities. Real estate developers in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland learned the hard way during the Leaky Condo Crisis in the early 1990’s that was deemed a catastrophic failure of building envelopes. This has led to higher standards in the real estate development industry that include design, engineering, and building codes.

O2 will be built with an efficient tight building envelope to better regulate the movement of air, moisture, and heat flow moving through the structure. This approach minimizes uncontrolled air leakage, decreasing the need for energy-intensive heating and cooling systems. Having an effective integration of all components such as waterproofing, air barrier, roofing systems, electrical, and mechanical systems are crucial for a building’s functionality and energy efficiency.

Coming off our recent project The Paramount in Richmond it’s been a pleasure going through the warranty periods and seeing just how successful and trouble free the mechanical and electrical systems have been. It’s a testament to our approach, our building systems, and the collaboration with our building partners to build such complex projects and have them perform so well. O2 will be no exception.

The exterior of a building goes beyond its surface, playing a key role in the overall performance of the structure. Could you explain how O2’s façade design enhances building performance by prioritizing comfort and energy efficiency?

Building an air-tight, highly insulated glazed façade requires careful detailing and precise material selection. The facade plays a key role in shaping a building’s architectural aesthetics while impacting both its energy efficiency and functionality. It protects the building from the elements, ensures proper ventilation, acoustic insulation, and makes the most of natural light.

We maximized the design and performance of the building envelope system through our collaboration with Alutec, a leading building façade and envelope experts in Qatar. They are one of the few building envelope companies worldwide that are vertically and horizontally integrated in terms of design, manufacturing and contracting. We have been working with them since the onset of the O2 project to come up with a building envelope system that will not only function well but will be easy to install.

Wellness Oriented Homes

Sophisticated Wellness Features in Every Home

O2 has been engineered with evidence-based building techniques and is a first-of-its-kind living experience: 30 Storey, 285 one-to-three-bedroom homes where health is at the forefront and wellness is integrated into every aspect of the design.

The WELL Building Standard takes a more holistic and people-led approach to achieving social sustainability, health, and wellness.  What was Keltic’s approach to becoming certified and how will clients benefit from WELL Building Standard concepts? 

The WELL Building Standard is gaining traction as a prominent green building certification. Although it shares some similarities with the long-standing LEED standard, WELL sets itself apart by placing stronger emphasis on health and well-being. 
     Several of our building values like innovation and growth align with the creation of the WELL Building Standard and its intent to support wellness through a performance-based certification system. It focuses on ten specific areas where improvements can be made: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, and community. Improving the air, light, sound, and thermal comfort quality can help attract tenants and improve the property’s overall operating costs.

What are the some of O2’s health-first features being incorporated into every suite that improves client’s wellbeing?

Every suite in O2 has a commercial-grade air purification system that removes up to 135% more particles than an average building. Keeping the air clean and safe is a priority for us post COVID-19. Our purification system uses proven commercial-grade technology that is high-performing and quiet.

Each suite also has an advanced water filtration system that is designed and programmed for the purpose of removing bacteria, pyrogens and other contaminants from the water thus ensuring the supply of clean, fresh water.

O2 also contains a state-of-the-art variable refrigerant flow (VRF) heating and cooling system that’s controlled by a smart, Wi-Fi-connected thermostat that accurately identifies the requirements of each zone and sends the precise amount of refrigerant needed to each air handling unit

What are some of the Wellness Amenities that put health and wellness front and center at O2?

O2 spans over 7,200 sq ft of indoor and outdoor amenity space. Residents of O2 will enjoy the use of an outdoor courtyard and indoor amenities located on the first, second, and 30th floors.

The rooftop terrace will feature urban agricultural social space with a focused garden supporting the WELL Building Concept of nourishment with edible planting and native fruit trees. O2 has a multi-purpose room off the lobby that can be used as a space for hosting, dining, and social entertaining. It features a chef-inspired kitchen and media area with a large television and seating with direct access to an outdoor kitchen and BBQ area.

The Mind Concept, in the WELL Building Standards promoting mental health through strategies that influence well-being, will be implemented at O2 by integrating local nature, art and culture.  We are very honoured to collaborate once again with Musqueam artist Thomas Cannell, who will be unveiling his new art piece on the grounds of O2.  Thomas previously created a 6-storey mosaic glass installation piece called “Sea to Sky” that features traditional iconography of the Pacific Northwest for our Paramount development in Richmond.

Modern home designs keep pushing the limits to find creative methods to combine functionality and style. What can clients expect from O2’s interiors?

The interiors were envisioned to amplify O2’s focus on advanced health and wellness with the goal of truly enhancing our residents’ daily lives. This is where the importance of the air purification and filtration systems come into play. Maintaining good indoor air quality is essential for creating a healthy and comfortable home environment, and you really feel the difference in air quality when the commercial-grade air purification and heating and cooling systems are working. The interiors of the homes at O2 are designed with purpose and function with open-concept floor plans, expansive windows with roller blinds, chic colour palettes and high-end finishes.

There are chef-inspired kitchens features such as quartz countertops and stainless-steel appliances, and under-cabinet storage with high-end custom cabinetry by Vesta Cucine. There are dedicated office spaces and workspaces, and engineered flooring throughout kitchen, living and bedroom spaces. All homes with 2 bathrooms comes with a fully enclosed steam shower that includes an aromatherapy reservoir allowing essential oils to be incorporated into your everyday wellness routine in the primary ensuite.

In recent years, wellness developments like O2 as well as forward thinking developments are quickly moving from elective to essential. Given the locations you have acquired land at, will you continue with this direction?

Absolutely. We will continue to set new benchmarks in delivering environment friendly projects across Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. The demand for wellness-oriented developments is becoming more commonly understood within the real estate sector, and we are excited to bring a landmark project like O2 to Burnaby, which enhances smart density in Metrotown’s urban core.

We have made significant investments in land in Metrotown and are excited about the prospect of designing, developing, and establishing communities and projects that surpass the expectations of modern families and businesses.