British Columbians in the Downtown Eastside are benefiting from a project that is transforming a former police station into a social, economic and creative hub for community organizations and local businesses.
“This dynamic new space, in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, is a great addition to this neighbourhood,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “This building offers social entrepreneurs, artists and community organizations an affordable place to host events, set up business and access business and skills training. I’m proud our government has helped bring much-needed support to this area.”
The Government of B.C. invested $3.9 million in the centre, which offers a space for social enterprises and community services. To mark the completion of the first phase, a celebration was held at the facility. Beare was joined by Melanie Mark, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA, and Gregor Robertson, mayor of Vancouver, at the event.
“This new community hub offers community groups and local businesses a shared space to come together to work and create in the Downtown Eastside,” said Mark. “312 Main represents an inclusive approach to providing services and supports to my constituents. Accessible public space and responsive services will help reduce inequality and allow our community members to thrive.”
“Vancouver’s new Centre for Social and Economic Innovation is an amazing transformation of a former police station to much-needed community space for people to gather, create and collaborate,” said Robertson. “With space for a diverse mix of artists, entrepreneurs, and local organizations working towards economic and social empowerment, the centre will contribute to, and strengthen, the incredible sense of community that exists in the Downtown Eastside.”
“It’s inspiring to see the Vancity Community Foundation’s vision of an inclusive, community-focused co-working space turning into reality,” said Tamara Vrooman, Vancity credit union president and CEO. “I’m especially excited to see members of the building already connecting and collaborating, and we’re all looking forward to when the doors open and the building becomes a true part of the neighbourhood.”
More than 60,000 square feet is currently in use by members, including social organizations and small businesses that rent spaces in this unique, mixed-use centre. The next phase of the project will see the facility expand to 83,000 square feet. The doors of 312 Main will open to the community in spring 2019.
- The initial vision for the project came from the Jim Green Foundation, an organization established as a tribute to the late city councillor and community advocate.
- The project budget is expected to be $32.6 million. To date, the 312 Main project has received the following financial support:
- $3.9 million in March 2018 from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, which has enabled completion of the community spaces within the building.
- $7.95 million has been provided by the City of Vancouver to support construction. The City of Vancouver will also provide an additional $1.26 million during the first three years of operations to support occupancy costs.
- $1.75 million provided by the Government of Canada, including the Department of Canadian Heritage and Western Economic Diversification Canada.
- $19 million in financing and financial support from Vancity credit union and the Vancity Community Foundation.
For more information about 312 Main, visit: 312Main.ca