Viewpoint: Rebranded Vancouver office tower brings back four-decade-old memories

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MacMillan Bloedel Building in Vancouver rebranded as Arthur Erickson Place

By Mark Buckshon

While most of our lives we go through day-to-day experiences without much excitement and change, there are critical moments when we made decisions or live through events that reset our course.  Sometimes these are happy moments; other times, sad.

Occasionally, we experience life-changing insights (epiphanies) where our entire perspective of our lives alters in a millisecond (though these dramatic moments of self-discovery usually have antecedents that go back many years.)

A news release about a downtown Vancouver office tower named after a famous architect (Arthur Erickson) that arrived on my desk in September quickly kindled memories of the six months I worked there, setting the stage for my move to Ottawa and, eventually, the beginning of the Construction News and Report Group.

You can read the story in this Ontario Construction News posting.

Now, more than four decades later, I’m approaching another transition. Although I’m 68 years old, I can’t imagine myself retiring, just yet. The work as a publisher is fun and I enjoy connecting with the issues and challenges affecting the architectural, engineering and construction community.

But there are special taxation challenges when you turn 71 and need to begin drawing on retirement savings. I’ve been fortunate in that regard, with advice from my wife and a steady savings plan. So I can, indeed, afford to “retire.”

There is still the business, however, including a US side, where we manage a network of regional construction websites and electronic publications in several cities, all from Ottawa.

Could I sell the business to its five other employees, and design the arrangement so that they don’t feel financial stress in assuming ownership, as I draw out my equity over several years, presumably tax free with the $800,000-plus small business capital gains exemption?

It looks like this may be the way to go, though a lot of details still need to be worked out – including the level of consulting/support work I would be expected to do after the employees assume ownership. Presumably, with planning and the resolving of COVID-19 pandemic, my wife and I can resume our international travels, though at a somewhat more comfortable level than when I traversed Africa in a Bedford truck, and later worked the evening shift on a newspaper in a country at war.

Mark Buckshon is the president and publisher of the Construction News and Report Group, which publishes Ottawa Construction News. He can be reached by email at buckshon@cnrgp.com.

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