Mayor Gregor Robertson joined the Vancouver East Cultural Centre and Henriquez Partners Architects last week to celebrate the opening of the fully restored, 100-year-old historic York Theatre.
The York will run primarily as a rental venue, accessible for artists and community groups. Located on the northern part of Commercial Drive near Venables, the York will strengthen a cultural cluster that already includes The Cultch and the Havana Theatre.
The restored theatre includes a fully fitted 365 seat theatre, orchestra pit, new lobby and heritage ticket booth, with the project built to LEED Gold standards. The City will own the building and lease it to the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, who will operate the building as a performing arts centre and use it as a satellite facility.
The total cost to restore and rehabilitate the York was $14.8 million. The City contributed $13 million, with Canadian Heritage providing $1.8 million.
The York was originally built in 1913, and at times has operated as the Alcazar Theatre, The Palace, The Little Theatre, and the Raja Cinema. In the summer of 2008 an application by the previous owner was made to demolish the building. Following community advocacy that sought to retain the building, the Vancouver East Cultural Centre undertook a rehabilitation feasibility study with Henriquez Partners Architects. The property was subsequently purchased by Wall Financial Corporation, and in May 2011, Council approved a rezoning proposal and heritage revitalization agreement to save the York Theatre.