The historic renovated Flack Block, home to Renewal and Tides Canada Foundation, stands at the intersection of Cambie and Hastings: kitty corner from Victory Square, across from the Dominion Building, and adjacent to the Woodward’s redevelopment.
At the turn of last the century, Victory Square was the site of Vancouver’s original provincial courthouse and the center of the city's financial and legal district. Across the street the Flack Block was built in 1898, one of the largest and most elaborate buildings in the city at the time. The building was instrumental in establishing Vancouver’s ‘first city’ status; the location, design, and timing ensured it would become a local landmark.
The Klondike gold rush spurred a building boom in the 1890’s on Hastings Street, as Vancouver was one of the main supply centers for those heading to the gold fields. For decades afterward, Hastings Street remained the premier shopping district in Vancouver.
Thomas Flack actually found gold in 1897 in the Klondike. And with that money, in 1898 he began construction on William Blackmore’s Romanesque Revival design. The Flack Block was home to small retailers on the ground level, and offices of barristers, insurance agents and mining brokers above, and was home of the original Bank of Vancouver early in the last century. Gold dealers and jewelers inhabited the building making use of the 10 or so massive vaults – many of which remain in the building. A jazz club speakeasy, a basement level “Turkish Bathhouse for Ladies”, many small businesses, some legal, some not, graced the floors of Flack over 100 years and through the decline of the neighbourhood, until it was brought into the modern era.
The developer, the Salient Group, headed by Robert Fung, has restored and preserved the heritage character of the building to a remarkable degree. The elaborate stonework arch and pediments were faithfully recreated using old photographs. A modern elevator was added, but the presence of the original was maintained. New glass brick was installed in the sidewalks in place of the crumbling original prisms lending natural light to the basement interior. A seismic upgrade, installation of modern utilities, and the addition of a spectacular top floor, were all part of the modernization completed before Salient handed over four floors of office space to the Flack Block. For our interior finishes we set a goal of Gold level LEED certification for Commercial Interiors. The Flack Block received a LEED Gold certification.