Posts Tagged ‘Robert Fung’

Frugalbits Insider Guides – Robert Fung’s Gastown

July 23rd, 2010

Robert is the expert guide to Gastown for Frugalbits today.  His recommendations, if you are planning a visit, include design store Haven, the artist-run Gallery Gachet, and the Potluck café on Hastings.  Visit Frugalbits to read the entire article.

 

 


Vancouver Province: Robert Fung – What do B.C. people like to do with their Sundays?

August 31st, 2009
Robert Fung is a real-estate developer on weekdays and a home-loving dad on Sundays. Photograph by: Jon Murray, The Province, The Province

Robert Fung is a real-estate developer on weekdays and a home-loving dad on Sundays. Photograph by: Jon Murray, The Province, The Province

What do B.C. people like to do with their Sundays?
Vancouver Province
August 30, 2009

Robert Fung is a Vancouver real-estate developer best known for restoring the city’s heritage buildings and redeveloping them on the inside into new condo developments.
As president and founder of the Salient Group, Fung has led several heritage restoration/ conversions in Gastown, including the new Terminus building and Paris Block.
The married father of three little girls, aged seven, five and three, might have a long-held passion for history, but says these days, the best things in life revolve around his family.
How do you spend Sundays? It almost always involves coffee at Cafe Artigiano, usually with the whole gang. But if it’s during the school year, I’ve got three young kids, so it almost always involves a birthday party — either attending or holding. And then running around on that basis. And as much as we can, just hanging around as a family, playing on the swingset or going to the park. Generally uninspiring, but sometimes, those are the best days. It’s the time to hang out with the kids, because they don’t see much of me during the week.
And what about the rest of your week? It’s early mornings in the office in the summer. And once the school year starts, it’s two or three days a week taking the kids to school. . . and then it’s to the office. And I really make my best effort to have dinner with the family every night. I think it’s really important. I try to be home for six ‘o clock dinner, then put the kids to bed and then work until whenever. I usually work at home until midnight, and then fire it up again.
You must not need a lot of sleep.
It’s the pleasure of owning your own business. Fortunately, it’s great stuff and I love doing it, so that makes it a little easier.
Speaking of work, what’s on the horizon for you? A lot of it is finishing the projects that we’ve been working on for some time now, which is really exciting because it’s been a long slog for a lot of people in Gastown and as they’re all finishing, the energy’s been building very quickly. The urban-renewal projects are where we are still focused, and will be continuing to go forward. We have a site in New West, so we’re monitoring that daily.
Now, do you yourself live in a heritage home? I do. My wife and I did a renovation of a 1920s house. So that’s great . . . It looks almost identical on the outside from what it did; inside we actually opened it up for modern living.
Have you always had an interest in old, historic buildings? I’ve always loved the notion of our history and have always been intrigued by the stories of our past. I studied anthropology and studied a little bit of underwater archeology as a student. And I just loved that stuff.
Outside of work, do you have any other hobbies? All my hobbies have been aggregated into my kids. So we enjoy the beach and mucking around in the water and swimming and bike riding. All of those things are elementally things I enjoy, but now they’re just a bit different and way more fun.
Best thing about being a dad? Walking through the door and having my kids run up, scream my name and give me a huge hug.
lsin@theprovince.com
© Copyright (c) The Province

Robert Fung is a Vancouver real-estate developer best known for restoring the city’s heritage buildings and redeveloping them on the inside into new condo developments.

As president and founder of the Salient Group, Fung has led several heritage restoration/ conversions in Gastown, including the new Terminus building and Paris Block.

The married father of three little girls, aged seven, five and three, might have a long-held passion for history, but says these days, the best things in life revolve around his family.

How do you spend Sundays? It almost always involves coffee at Cafe Artigiano, usually with the whole gang. But if it’s during the school year, I’ve got three young kids, so it almost always involves a birthday party — either attending or holding. And then running around on that basis. And as much as we can, just hanging around as a family, playing on the swingset or going to the park. Generally uninspiring, but sometimes, those are the best days. It’s the time to hang out with the kids, because they don’t see much of me during the week.

And what about the rest of your week? It’s early mornings in the office in the summer. And once the school year starts, it’s two or three days a week taking the kids to school. . . and then it’s to the office. And I really make my best effort to have dinner with the family every night. I think it’s really important. I try to be home for six ‘o clock dinner, then put the kids to bed and then work until whenever. I usually work at home until midnight, and then fire it up again.

You must not need a lot of sleep.

It’s the pleasure of owning your own business. Fortunately, it’s great stuff and I love doing it, so that makes it a little easier.

Speaking of work, what’s on the horizon for you? A lot of it is finishing the projects that we’ve been working on for some time now, which is really exciting because it’s been a long slog for a lot of people in Gastown and as they’re all finishing, the energy’s been building very quickly. The urban-renewal projects are where we are still focused, and will be continuing to go forward. We have a site in New West, so we’re monitoring that daily.

Now, do you yourself live in a heritage home? I do. My wife and I did a renovation of a 1920s house. So that’s great . . . It looks almost identical on the outside from what it did; inside we actually opened it up for modern living.

Have you always had an interest in old, historic buildings? I’ve always loved the notion of our history and have always been intrigued by the stories of our past. I studied anthropology and studied a little bit of underwater archeology as a student. And I just loved that stuff.

Outside of work, do you have any other hobbies? All my hobbies have been aggregated into my kids. So we enjoy the beach and mucking around in the water and swimming and bike riding. All of those things are elementally things I enjoy, but now they’re just a bit different and way more fun.

Best thing about being a dad? Walking through the door and having my kids run up, scream my name and give me a huge hug.

lsin@theprovince.com

© Copyright (c) The Province


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.”


Trapp Block: Housing plan flourishes as market slumps

May 27th, 2009

trapp-block-market-slumps-sm

Globe and Mail – Housing plan flourishes as market slumps
Group seizes chance to ease homelessness in New Westminster with space left over from commercial reno jobs that were put on hold

Wendy Stueck
Globe and Mail
Wednesday, May. 27, 2009

The economic downturn has resulted in a short-term shot in the arm for affordable housing in New Westminster.

With development plans for a trio of heritage buildings sidelined as a result of a deep chill in commercial real-estate financing, developer Robert Fung has turned over one of the buildings for use as social housing.

The building, which was vacant when Mr. Fung’s Salient Group acquired it in 2005, is to be managed by the non-profit Atira Women’s Resource Society and will provide 23 units for women and children who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

Provincial agency B.C. Housing has provided some financial assistance to renovate the building.

Salient has committed to the arrangement for at least two years. The neighbouring buildings have interim tenants.

“Philosophically we don’t like vacant space, because it has such a negative impact on the street,” said Mr. Fung, whose company has tackled several high-profile renovations of heritage buildings in Gastown and who sits on the board of Vancouver’s Streettohome Foundation.

(more…)


Globe and Mail – Heritage projects suffer collateral damage in downturn

May 8th, 2009
Robert Fung has turned some of Vancouver’s worst eyesores into high-end housing. But the financing model he used to cover the added expense of saving the city’s grand old buildings has run into a brutal new reality.

Robert Fung has turned some of Vancouver’s worst eyesores into high-end housing. But the financing model he used to cover the added expense of saving the city’s grand old buildings has run into a brutal new reality.

Globe and Mail – Heritage projects suffer collateral damage in downturn

Kerry Gold
Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, May. 15, 2009

Developer Robert Fung stands on Water Street in Vancouver’s Gastown, surveying a row of heritage buildings that comprise one of the city’s most beautiful streetscapes.

They represent some of the city’s oldest buildings, and each of them had been long neglected until Mr. Fung came along and restored them as work, retail and condo spaces.

“He’s the poster child of heritage,” says Heritage Vancouver president Don Luxton.

But with the downturn in British Columbia’s property markets, Mr. Fung now sees himself tied to a complex financing model that no longer works.

The Alhambra building, circa 1887, anchors Water Street, the most historic block in the city. It is part of Mr. Fung’s $60-million, three-phase, five-building project that involves “a high level of heritage restoration.” The condo building Terminus, once on Heritage Vancouver’s Top Ten Endangered Sites list, is the first phase. The heritage building, with its sleek, uniquely modern interior, is finished and mostly occupied. The Garage condos next door, once the location for the city’s first jailhouse, will be complete by November.

(more…)


Events: Pecha Kucha Night

April 22nd, 2009

pecha-kucha-night-graphic

In a town where sometimes cool can be hard to find, Pecha Kucha Night (PKN) over-delivers the goods. In short: 12-speakers; 20-slides each; 20-seconds per slide; any topic goes. It’s a great format with no time to die on the vine as a speaker. For PKN#4 in October 08, Salient showed up as joint sponsor with Bing Thom Architects. Robert also presented that night. His topic was (surprise) the importance of not losing our architectural heritage, and the amazing spaces that can be created when we save the buildings properly.

However, it was all the other presenters that blew us away. More than anything, the other presenters showed a diversity and talent in our cultural landscape that was hugely refreshing. It led us to the sponsorship of PKN5 in April.

We’ll be back there again, if they’ll have us. PKN#6 is May 21, 2009click here for more info (event will sell out, buy your tickets early).

The event series is organized by Cause+Affect and was a huge success with a sold out crowd and inspirational talks from all sorts of Vancouverites.

Belatedly, we’d like to thank the presenters from the evenings that we sponsored.

For PKN#3 on October 23, 2008, we’d like to thank and congratulate:

Graeme Berglund (Curator/Creator) > The Cheaper Show
Natalie Purschwitz (Designer) > Hunt & Gather
Robert Fung (Developer) > The Salient Group
Josh Dunford (Director) >Burnkit
Alicia Grunert (Fashion Designer) > Alicia Grunert
Bob Kronbauer (Art Director) > Mumble
Ross MacMillian (Designer/Founder) > Industrial Artifacts Inc.
Clinton Cuddington & Matthew Woodruff, principals, (Measured. Architecture. Inc.)
Kierstin De West (Conscientious Innovation)
Chris Allen (Graphic Designer)
Dick Hardt (Sxip Inc)

For PKN#5, on March 26, 2009, we’d like to thank and congratulate:

Kris Krüg (President) > Raincity Studios, Founder: Static Photography
Kelly Deck (Director) > Kelly Deck Design
Duane Elverum (Assistant Professor, Design) > Emily Carr University
1. Matthew Miyagawa (Founder) > Finale Design / VancouverSlop.com
2. Vince Chan (Founder, Graphic Designer) > Finale Design
Dolly Hopkins  (Creative Architect) > Dolly Hopkins
Jeff Topham (Photographer, Writer, Documentary producer) > Jeff Topham
Alex Beim  (CEO/Creative Director) > Tangible Interaction
Campbell McDougall (Owner/Art Director) > Komakino/ Darklands
Rex Weyler (Independent Author, Journalist, TV and Film writer, Researcher) > Rex Weyler
Dinka Pignon (Operations & Education Coordinator) > VIVO Media Arts Centre
Shawna Cox (Producer, Director, Writer, Editor, Actor, Independent Filmmaker) > iDream Films / CFilmGirl
Oliver Lang (Architect) > LWPAC

To learn more about Pecha Kucha, see their sitewww.pecha-kucha.org/cities/vancouver


GlobalTV video: The Flack Block

April 8th, 2009

globaltv-flackblock

The Flack Block was featured on Global TV yesterday (April 7). There is a lot of interest in the positive change community health that neighbourhood heritage rehabilitation can bring. We’re pretty excited about it.

You can see the video here. (edit: video is no longer live on the GlobalTV website)

The Flack Block also has it’s own Facebook group, and you can find it here. Lots of new photos added to the group, including beautiful detail photos of the hand-carved limestone archway can be seen in the gallery.