124,000-sq-ft arts and innovation hub planned for Granville Island

Author: Kenneth Chan

Daily Hive

The former north building of Emily Carr University of Art and Design’s (ECUAD) old campus on Granville Island is slated to become a new Arts & Innovation Hub (AIH).

Federal crown corporation Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC), which owns and operate the island, says it intends to transform the 124,000-sq-ft, two-storey space into “an animated creative, collaborative and interactive space, where the public will be inspired by, learn from, and engage with the arts community.”

It will have a focus on innovators and entrepreneurs, First Nations arts, non-profits, art retail, galleries, multi-functional spaces for events, and market commercial spaces for restaurants, retail, and office. Such a hub would “foster growth in the local creative sector.”

But CMHC says no detailed design and usage concepts have been established, and instead it is opening up the design process for public discussion in a Call for Ideas process.

CMHC suggests the conversion of the building could even incorporate a significant expansion, as current planning guidelines for the site allow for a building of up to four storeys in height.

“This is the most significant redevelopment project on Granville Island in decades and an extraordinary opportunity for new organizations to establish a presence on the island,” says Lisa Ono, Manager, Public Affairs & Programming for CMHC-Granville Island, in a statement.

“By participating in the Call for Ideas, individuals and organizations will be able to help shape this new space on Granville Island.”

While the north building will be converted into the AIH, ECUAD’s former south building will be renovated into a new $27-million facility for Arts Umbrella.

Following the completion of the Call for Ideas process this year, CMHC could seek interested organizations to lead the implementation and operation of the project in 2019. Construction would potentially start in 2020 for a reopening of the building with its new spaces in 2022.

The conversion of the north building into the AIH was one of the major projects listed in CMHC’s 2040 long-term master plan for Granville Island. Other projects in Granville Island’s revitalization include the construction of an elevator to the Granville Street Bridge, expansion of the public market, renewed streetcar connection, and the conversion of several parking lots into new public spaces.

Highly conceptual artistic rendering of the former ECUAD north building converted into the Arts & Innovation Hub. (CMHC)


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