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Vancouver Police's old Main Street headquarters now a co-working hub (PHOTOS)

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Kenneth Chan Oct 05, 2018 4:56 pm 1,716

The old Main Street headquarters of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has been transformed into a social and economic hub for the Downtown Eastside and wider local community.

Located at 312 Main Street, the southeast corner of the intersection of East Cordova Street and Main Street, the derelict six-storey police building is now a mixed-use space with co-working, office, and community and social services.

312 Main Street Vancouver

Exterior of the old Vancouver Police Department building at 312 Main Street, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

The project was initially envisioned by the Jim Green Foundation, and then later spearheaded and largely funded by Vancity Community Foundation.

“It’s inspiring to see the Vancity Community Foundation’s vision of an inclusive, community-focused co-working space turning into reality,” said Tamara Vrooman, Vancity Credit Union president and CEO, in a statement.

“I’m especially excited to see members of the building already connecting and collaborating, and we’re all looking forward to when the doors open and the building becomes a true part of the neighbourhood.”

 

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A large open space designed for events is located on the first floor, and co-working spaces and meeting rooms are situated on the second floor. The remaining upper levels have been designed to be leased to larger groups, with a focus on non-proft and advocacy groups.

As for the basement, large void spaces are intended to become multifunctional spaces for artists and innovators.

 

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According to operators, over 60,000 sq. ft. of floor area completed during the first phase of renovations is currently in use by tenants.

A second phase will retrofit the upper levels of the building, expanding the usable space to 83,000 sq. ft.

In the future, building tenants may even have access to a large green rooftop amenity space.

 

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Given the complexities of renovating the building, the project’s cost is pegged at an estimated $33 million.

Vancity Credit Union has provided its Community Foundation with $19 million to complete the project. Other funding includes $7.95 million from the City of Vancouver, $3.9 million from the provincial government, and $1.75 million from the federal government.

The municipal government, which still owns the property, has also offered to provide an additional $1.26-million subsidy to help cover the operational costs over the hub’s first three years.

The project was originally modelled after Toronto’s Social Innovation Centre.

While the building already has occupants, the public will not be able to access the hub until spring 2019.

This building was the longtime home of the VPD until after 2010, when the police force vacated the premises and moved into a newer, larger office building at 3585 Gravely Street in East Vancouver – the former headquarters of VANOC.

 

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Kenneth Chan
National Features Editor at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. He covers local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and the travel industry. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]dailyhive.com

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