This month we spoke to Ashley Chandler, Program Manager at Hudson Pacific Properties for People of Downtown.
Aside from a few short stints living in Toronto and Ottawa, Ashley has lived in Vancouver her whole life. “I’m the exact opposite of a homebody, I guess a social butterfly?” she says. Ashley is always looking to try new restaurants, stroll through pop-up markets, attend concerts and festivals, and enjoy the general beauty of Vancouver’s great outdoors. “I also love to travel and experience new cities and cultures – I’m heading to Turkey this week!” she exclaims.
(Ashley Chandler, centre)
Born and raised in Vancouver, Ashley is no stranger to the downtown core. “I’ve lived and worked in Downtown Van for four years. The walking commute is always the highlight of my day,” she says. Ashley describes her head as “always on a swivel” on her daily walk to work because she’s constantly looking for new retailers, pop-up events at the Vancouver Art Gallery, or the progression of new construction projects. “Downtown Vancouver is the intersection of the natural beauty of the West Coast and a vibrant Central Business District. Our office is located on the 31st floor of Four Bentall Centre and there are still some days that the views of the North Shore mountains stop me in my tracks,” says Ashley.
With a background in real-estate, Ashley was pursuing a career in brokerage when she first connected with the team at Hudson Pacific Properties. This was back in 2019 when Hudson Pacific had recently acquired Bentall Centre in partnership with Blackstone. Two years later, they created the Program Manager role – a new and innovative position for a real estate developer to dedicate a team member specifically for programming and events. “Truthfully, I was hesitant to change career paths, nonetheless pivot into an events-centric career during the pandemic. After learning more about the vision for Bentall Centre, I was hooked on the opportunity to be a part of repositioning a landmark property,” she explains. Jack of all trades, Ashley takes care of marketing strategy, public events, tenant engagement, charitable giving, and site filming. She also works very closely with other departments at Hudson Pacific to problem solve, collaborate, and challenge the status quo of the traditional office experience. “No two days are the same for me,” she jokes.
Hudson Pacific Properties is a co-owner and operator of Bentall Centre, a 1.5 million-square-foot office and retail campus in the heart of Vancouver’s Central Business District. The sprawling office and retail campus has long been a landmark destination for Vancouver’s leading companies and is now being transformed and modernized with offerings such as reactivated public spaces, community events, arts and culture programming, and much more.
When asked about some of her most memorable career moments, Ashley names a few; “Bark Park! I got to spend the day with 400 dogs on our rooftop dog park for our first ever dog-friendly event. We had a pop-up beer garden, DJ, live muralist, and some amazing local pet vendors. Bark Park is an event we’ll bring back in 2023” she says. Ashley also runs the company’s pop-up program, which gives her the opportunity to work with small businesses and artists and witness the excitement of opening their pop-up at Bentall Centre – often their first brick and mortar store. “Another recent highlight was being awarded the Outstanding Organization at the 2022 Downtown Appreciation Awards,” says Ashley. “The recognition really enforces all the work that our team is doing regarding sustainability, property improvements, and programming.”
It’s safe to say that Ashley has a lot to look forward to in the years to come with regards to Hudson Pacific Properties and Downtown Vancouver. “I am looking forward to reaching more repositioning milestones with my team. Our regional office in Vancouver is now 26 people and growing – everyone is so incredibly hard working and supportive of each other,” she says. She’s also looking forward to the proposed 16-storey mass timber development, Burrard Exchange, which when complete, will be one of the tallest exposed mass timber office buildings in North America. “There is a lot of work ahead to get there, so I’m excited for the journey!” says Ashley.
There’s no denying that office workers have gained the ability to work from home because of the pandemic. Landlords like Hudson Pacific Properties are now being challenged to make the commute worth it. “My goal is to bring life back to work – create experiences to connect with coworkers and the downtown community that you can’t get by working from home,” explains Ashley. Happy hours on the sun-soaked plazas, workshops to interact with their edible gardens and beehives, networking opportunities through the Bentall Women’s Network, art gallery receptions, and food trucks are just some of the ways Ashley plans on bringing workers back downtown.
To learn more about Hudson Pacific Properties, click here.