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Over the weekend we will move into our new home in the Tides Renewal Centre, in the Flack Block, at the Victory Square Corner of the Woodward's block, Cambie at Hastings.
The Flack Block – a heritage treasure fallen into disrepair – was built in 1898 by Thomas Flack, one of the first prospectors to strike it rich in the Klondike Gold Rush. Located at the commercial centre of the city and across from the first courthouse, the Flack Block was the original home to the Bank of Vancouver. In later years it hosted men's clothier E.A. Lee, but as Hastings Street around Victory Square declined, it became home to a series of pawnshops and varied illegal activities.
"It was leading to demolition by neglect," says the Flack Block's restorer, Robert Fung of The Salient Group. "Today the Flack Block regains its stature as a premier commercial property, and will be the first new office space in Gastown in years. This could never have happened without the city's heritage incentive program and the federal government's commercial heritage properties incentive fund."
The Flack's main structure, composed of local sandstone, has been carefully rehabilitated and all new building systems introduced. The hand-carved limestone archway above the entrance was demolished during one of the building's many unfortunate facelifts, but has been re-created by local artisans using vintage photographs. "After decades of neglect, the Flack Block will see a return to its intended status as one of the finest commercial spaces in the city," says Marco D'Agostini, the City of Vancouver's senior heritage planner. "It kick-starts the revitalization of this long-neglected block, which includes the new Woodward's development."
The Flack Block's office space has been entirely leased to Renewal to create the Tides Renewal Centre. "We are carefully selecting from a vibrant mix of social and environmental nonprofits and entrepreneurs as our tenants, enabling groups to focus on their missions and goals, while at the same time encouraging the cross fertilization of ideas," says Joel Solomon, CEO of Renewal, a social investment firm.
"The Flack with the intro of Tides Renewal Centre is a model of sustainability, addressing economic, social and environmental imperatives," says The Salient Group's Robert Fung. "It also helps to create a connection to our past, while providing for our current office needs."
Working with award winning Acton Ostry Architects, and design firm, Penner and Associates the Flack Block's extreme makeover also includes a steel and glass fifth floor with a wraparound deck, with views over the revitalized Victory Square Park.
Come by and visit us.