Tides Renewal Centre Taking Shape


Tides Renewal Centre
Photos by Steven Ballegeer

Recently I walked past the Flack Block, the highly anticipated new home of Tides Renewal Centre, at the Victory Square Corner of the Woodward's block, Cambie at Hastings, in the evening.  I soaked in the uplit splendour of developer Robert Fung's adaptive reuse and full restoration of this extraordinary building.  If like me, over the last decade or two, you have only seen a run down, tired and fading non entity you gave barely a glance to, you now may be surprised.

Renewal is deep in the build out of the interior with Penner and Associates. They are driving us towards the highest level of LEED we can reach for commercial build out of office space. Fitting modern offices into the irregularities and charm of a 19th century space tests our patience and pocketbook.  The charm of the 100+ year old brick, massive windows, central light well, and the 8 or 9  walk in vaults with original steel doors, hold tales we'll have fun for years creating and embellishing.

We’ve designed various office suites in advance, guessing who might inhabit them and how they'd be used. We included 4 major meeting rooms with differing features. Each one is larger than our current one at 220 Cambie and there are several other smaller meeting rooms within various suites, as well as two fantastic open concept kitchen cafes that might seat up to 20 people for dining or informal presentations. The Hollyhock Room at 650 square feet overlooks Victory Square at treetop height, as well as the gorgeous Dominion Building across the street which houses so many of our friends and allies. Imagine the results ahead of dozens then hundreds of trainings, presentations, strategic plans, social events, and meetings from 2 to 25? 50?

We are beginning the process of tenant selections and negotiations and we have so many people we'd like to share this space with. Sadly, it's too small for more than a few. Of course the price range will self select to a degree. Even with a not for profit intention on the lease rates, healthy absorption of shared amenities costs by Renewal, we remain in the realities of 2008's tightest office space market in decades and construction cost escalation.

I can’t help but wonder what was the planetary, Canadian, and Vancouver population of the late 1800's when the Flack Block was welcoming its first users?