Bowling alley one of proposals for new Woodwards

Friday, September 30th, 2005

City council to vote Tuesday on how to pick tenants

John Bermingham

A bowling alley is one of 55 proposals put forward by non-profit groups for the Woodward’s facelift.

Vancouver city council is to vote Tuesday on the method it will use to choose which groups become tenants in the revamped Woodward’s building on Hastings Street.

The list of applicants include the Dragon Boat Festival, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival and the Kootenay School of Writing.

Vision Vancouver mayoral hopeful Jim Green said the remake is a city-wide project, which will employ and cater to locals.

“It’s not just a Downtown Eastside project,” he said. “We really want to make that a magnet, where people come to the Downtown Eastside.”

NPA mayoral candidate Sam Sullivan wants 10,000 square feet, or one-third of the space allotted to non-profit groups, to be converted into market rentals.

Sullivan said it would help recoup some of the $30-million-plus cost overruns already on the project.

“I think it’s important to have some space for non-profits,” said Sullivan. “But that [stalls] would make the project more viable.”

As part of its deal with the developers, the city will get 31,500 sq. ft. of space to lease to non-profit tenants for $1 per year. Tenants will have to pay the overheads of $6 or $7 per square foot.

Preferred non-profit uses include a seniors’ centre, arts and rehearsal space, as well as offices for non-profit societies.

The Portland Hotel Society has applied to run an “affordable grocery store” and a 37-space childcare centre. PHS has been chosen as the operator of 125 social-housing units for singles, with the other 75 units for families. All tenants will be chosen by a selection panel.

Woodward’s project manager Michael Flanigan said many non-profit agencies in the Downtown Eastside already have established offices there.

“We don’t want to poach those locations and bring them into Woodward’s, and then leave a problem behind,” he said. “We’re looking to really bring activity into the Downtown Eastside, as opposed to relocating within it.”

© The Vancouver Province 2005

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