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May 25, 2009 / Boris Mann

Real Estate Teaser

Last Thursday, we walked around Gastown looking at potential new office space with the folks from CBRE. We literally tore down a wall in our office to make space for more people, and we’re still kind of bursting at the seams. The space at 375 Water Street has been great, but it has always been temporary while we look for our “own” space.

We looked at three spaces: the Flack Block, the Sun Tower, and 122 W Hastings.

The Flack Block

This building is pretty much complete (other than the ground floor retail space) and is the most “deluxe” that we looked at. The space we’re considering is the 5th floor penthouse. Even saying “penthouse” makes my cheap & cheerful startup background cringe a little bit, but the pricing is actually very good.

There is lots of background to the Flack Block on The Salient Group website. The team at Renewal Partners manage the space, and we really resonate with their mission:

Renewal is a collection of organizations using the powerful tools of business and philanthropy in support of long-term societal solutions. Renewal funds change through investments, grants and collaborations

Sun Tower

At one time, this was the “tallest building in the British Empire”. Then, a couple of years later, someone in Toronto built a larger one (lots more at the Sun Tower Wikipedia entry). It’s got great history, but there is basically nothing there now but the bones of a once great building.

This suits us fine, since we can potentially mix and match a  couple of floors, and there is ground floor available to do some interesting shared use things. Being next to Tinseltown, Wild Rice, and Medina / Chambar doesn’t hurt either :P

122 W Hastings

There isn’t much there other than a building face wrapped in plastic sheeting and workmen going in and out at the moment. It’s right across from the Woodwards development, is across and down the street from the Flack Block, and is sort of ground zero for where a lot of change is happening.

This space would let us start from scratch and pretty much do whatever we like. At the same time, it would also take until at least January until we could move in.

But wait… why are we looking for a big chunk of physical space? And why do we keep talking about ground floor retail?

Some of the thinking about this goes back all the way pre-WorkSpace. In fact, I just dug up the old posts from my personal blog on the Innovation Commons concept – September 2005, for those playing along at home. Now that we have the non-profit entrepreneurial society, we have an entity that can take the lead on this.

Once we decided that we should get more space, we’ve been exploring different concepts around this. In particular, we went over to Mallen Architecture and started talking to them about helping translate some of the ideas we had in our brain into something visual we could share with people.

The result is codenames “Bootup Cafe”. Here’s a teaser of one of the visuals:

Bootup Cafe

Bootup Cafe Visualization by Mallen Architecture, Inc.

Stay tuned for more thoughts from Danny on this, and a full set of visualizations. We hope that you’ll agree with our thinking, and that everyone will want to get involved to make this a reality.

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8 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Alex Shipillo / May 26 2009 3:38 am

    Wow – this looks amazing! Good luck with the search for space!

  2. Eugene Gregorio / May 26 2009 5:19 am

    Wow! This is exciting! Love the visual. Will stick around to see this a reality =)

  3. Perogie Mary / May 26 2009 8:01 pm

    Article in Vancouver Magazine about the Flack: http://www.vanmag.com/News_and_Features/The_Unlik

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