New and expanded home for QMUNITY's LGBTQ hub in downtown Vancouver moving forward

Jul 20 2022, 8:57 pm

The long-sought new home for QMUNITY is now one big step closer to being realized after Vancouver City Council formally approved the not-for-profit organization’s tenancy in a future City-owned building.

The 2SLGBTQIA+ community hub and social service centre will occupy about 13,300 sq ft of space over the first two levels of a 17-storey, mixed-use tower that will be built at 1190 Burrard Street — the northeast corner of the intersection of Burrard Street and Davie Street in downtown Vancouver.

City Council approved the rezoning application in July 2021, but yesterday’s decision dealt with the lease and the highly nominal lease rate of $10.00. According to City staff, this is deemed to be equivalent to a grant of about $544,600 annually, based on the market rate for the space, or $2.72 million for the first five-year term and for any renewal term.

“QMUNITY’s new home and community hub, through partnership with the City of Vancouver, will continue to build our capacity to improve the lives of all queer, trans, and Two-Spirit lives through services, connection and leadership,” said Christopher Vollan, board chair of QMUNITY, in a statement.

“This is a significant and long-championed evolution for QMUNITY with many members, staff and stakeholders having worked for decades toward the goal of establishing safer and more inclusive spaces for all members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in Vancouver.”

Existing condition of the future home of QMUNITY at 1190 Burrard Street:

1190 Burrard Street Vancouver qmunity

Site of 1190 Burrard Street, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

The future home of QMUNITY at 1190 Burrard Street:

1190 Burrard Street Vancouver qmunity

Artistic rendering of 1190 Burrard Street in Vancouver with QMUNITY. (ZGF Architects / New Commons Development)

1190 Burrard Street Vancouver qmunity

Artistic rendering of 1190 Burrard Street in Vancouver with QMUNITY. (ZGF Architects / New Commons Development)

The new and expanded centre at the prominent location at the eastern end of Davie Village replaces QMUNITY’s existing antiquated, cramped location at 1170 Bute Street.

The interior design work for QMUNITY will be conducted by Sky Spirit Studio, which will establish a purpose-built friendly design for queer and Indigenous communities. There will be multi-purpose areas for events, gatherings, and workshops, as well as meeting rooms and office space.

The municipal government also previously committed $7 million in funding towards the construction of the new QMUNITY space, which is generated by the community amenity contribution of the nearby Burrard Place redevelopment.

Above QMUNITY’s future space will be 154 units of social housing operated by the McLaren Housing Society of BC, which provides housing and support services for individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS.

1190 burrard street vancouver qmunity

Model of 1190 Burrard Street in Vancouver with QMUNITY. (ZGF Architects/New Commons Development)

Model of 1190 Burrard Street in Vancouver with QMUNITY. (ZGF Architects/New Commons Development)

Construction on 1190 Burrard Street tower, which will feature mass timber construction, is now expected to begin within the next year, with completion planned for 2025.

“The mixed-use social services and housing project featuring QMUNITY is one of the most transformative projects we’ve invested in to date,” said Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart.

“This new permanent location will help QMUNITY expand their work and reach even more people. And perhaps most importantly, it will be a visible meeting place, a tangible symbol of how taking up space – real physical space – matters.”

City Council also approved a similar nominal lease for WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre’s relocation to a 4,800 sq ft unit within a City-owned social housing building in downtown. WAVAW will open its new space in early 2023.

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