Posts Tagged ‘Malcolm Parry’

Malcolm Parry: Gastown – Gotta Have Heart

June 11th, 2009
CAPTION: Renovations worth $65 million by Robert Fung’s Salient Group leave Gastown building looking old in front, but much newer from behind.

Renovations worth $65 million by Robert Fung’s Salient Group leave Gastown building looking old in front, but much newer from behind.

Gastown – Gotta Have Heart
Malcolm Parry,
Vancouver Sun
June 11, 2009

GOTTA HAVE HEART: The very oldest part of Vancouver is becoming new again. Not just cosmetically tarted up as Gastown was in its early-1970s first revival. “These buildings are now considered new for insurance purposes,” said Robert Fung. He meant the $65-million-worth of development his Salient Group is near to completing on Maple Tree Square and along Water Street.

The adjacent properties include the now-completed Terminus. It’s a $26- million project incorporating the 1886-built Terminus Hotel and the adjacent Grand Hotel. The latter sat unoccupied for 35 years and was owned by 11 separate deal-seeking groups until Salient acquired it in 2004. Today, the two properties feature 46 suites sized from 700 to 1,600 square feet and offered for $400,000 to $1.6 million. “Those go back to 2006 prices,” said Fung, 43, who served eight years as a Concord Pacific development manager after arriving from Toronto in 1990. “We’re selling them for what original buyers paid.”

The Terminus remained on the city’s endangered-list top 10 even after a fire that left only its 30-cm-thick facade shored up for years.

Alongside that Water Street project, the former Nagle Brothers Garage and the 1890s Cordage Building comprise a $27-million project of 34 residences ranging from 575 to 1,600 square feet. Priced from a tad below $400,000 to $1.6 million in 2007, they sold in 90 minutes.

On the square itself, the 123-year-old Alhambra hotel, is subject to a $12-million revivification, again as the retail restaurant and office facility it has been for decades.

“You can’t set up a legitimate business if the infrastructure isn’t working, and this building was falling apart,” Fung said. In fact, Salient itself will move back there after temporarily occupying the Richards-off-Pender Street Lumbermen’s Building it renovated “taking the life-cycle clock back to zero,” Fung called it – in 2007.

That project also entails opening up Blood Alley, and blending skylights and glass-walled commercial spaces into a zone characterized by vintage brickwork and leafy trees. Rather than seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designation, as some Gastown developers have, Fung believes “more in going for good, practical, sustainable solutions that don’t penalize the buyers.”

He’d love to get his mitts on Cordova’s Street’s venerable Army & Navy store building. Has he talked to owner Jacqui Cohen? “Yes. She is very friendly, and she’s great in the neighbourhood.” Does that mean a deal is nigh? “She has many developer friends.”


Vancouver Sun: Robert Fung says his Salient Group ‘takes the life-cycle clock back to zero.’

October 4th, 2007
Beside the renovated 1912 Lumberman's Building, Robert Fung says his Salient Group 'takes the life-cycle clock back to zero.'

Beside the renovated 1912 Lumberman's Building, Robert Fung says his Salient Group 'takes the life-cycle clock back to zero.'

Robert Fung should have H as a middle initial. It would stand for “heritage,” because that has characterized the Salient development firm’s president since he left Concord Pacific to found it in 2001.

His first acquisition was the now-121-year-old Alhambra on Gastown’s Maple Tree Square where Salient has its offices. When city workers resume their duties, Fung should be able to start renovating the 26,000-square-foot structure into “what will still be one of the city’s oldest but also most modern buildings.” 

Ditto the nearby 50,000-square-foot Flack Block, where $15 million, including hard costs of $12 million, will add a fifth floor and totally renovate a “substantially vacant” building that housed “a pawnshop, booze cans and grow-ops” when Fung paid $2.5 million for it in 2005. 

“It was technically an office block, but the city had a broad definition,” Fung said, smiling. 

He was standing across Richards Street from the Lumbermen’s Building, which he bought vacant for $4 million in 2005. Closer to the Central Business District and in better physical condition than most of Salient’s Gastown centred projects, the building still broadly fits Fung’s aim of “breathing new life into vacant, desolate buildings, and bringing in a new population that appreciates them.”

He means folk who’ll occupy 29 live-work condos in the 1907 Paris Block at Hastings-off-Carrall Street. Demolition began this week for an 18-unit annex where similar units will fetch $600 per square foot. Sensitive to gentrification charges from Downtown Eastside residents, he said Salient projects will “round out the community… [and] the street feels more comfortable.”

(more…)


Robert Fung and Howard Kruschke featured in Malcom Parry

June 15th, 2005
Howard Kruschke sells Salient boss Robert Fung's Bowman Lofts.

Howard Kruschke sells Salient boss Robert Fung's Bowman Lofts.

Vancouver Sun – Robert Fung and Howard Kruschke are featured in Malcom Parry’s column

Download the article here (2.3MB Acrobat .pdf file)