The country’s tallest building outside of Toronto is celebrating a milestone—even if the project looks like it’s far from completion.

Stantec Tower opened Wednesday in Edmonton’s downtown as the company’s new global headquarters. Some 1,500 employees will begin moving into 29 floors of commercial workspace next month. 

The project has been touted as an economic driver for the ICE District.

“When this is all done later this year and into the next, I think then the real impact on business, and the street, and vibrancy will become clear,” said Mayor Don Iveson Wednesday.

“It’s beyond the physical shape of the infrastructure, which is impressive. It’s the people and the business activity coming to what used to be a parking lot in downtown Edmonton.”

Once finished, the building will be Western Canada’s tallest at 69 storeys, or 251 metres. Dentons Canada LLP, DLA Piper, and PwC Canada will share the floors of office space, which will also feature an open-concept level and community staircase for workers to interact.

More than 20,000 square feet in the tower’s upper levels will be SKY Residences condominiums, a third of which are sold, said an ICE District spokesperson.

Buying one of the 483 units, or visiting a resident, will be the only way to see the view from Western Canada’s tallest tower.

Glen Scott of the Katz Group said an observation deck was considered, but ultimately deemed too expensive.

“But if you buy a condo, or get your friends in there, you'll get access to the amenity level which is 24 thousand square feet so it's gigantic,” he said.

But completion is several months away. Stantec Tower is expected to reach its final height by the end of 2018, and the condos will be finished by the fall of 2019.

With files from Jeremy Thompson