Posts Tagged ‘Westcoast Homes’ Paris Annex: C’est bonne

October 11th, 2008

Paris Annex - C'est bonne

Paris Annex: C’est bonne
New building and 1907 Paris Block next door are ‘fraternal twins’

Barbara Gunn, Westcoast Homes
Published: Saturday, October 11, 2008

The affable Robert Fung, founder of a development company that has been largely focused on restoring Vancouver’s historic downtown district, can think of three reasons that drive his passion for social sustainability.

They are six, five and three years old — and they are his daughters.

“I love this city and I’d like them to grow up here,” says the 42-year-old president of the Salient Group, sipping an Americano in one of his favourite Gastown eateries.

“I’d like it to be a city that they want to live in, where they can make a living, where they can accommodate the cost of housing, a city that’s diverse and where there’s a great deal of understanding, where there are options in places to live, and where, environmentally, there’s an understanding of the impact of the things we do on the bigger picture of the world.”

Fung, an Ontario native who developed a fondness for Vancouver soon after he moved here 20 years ago — “It gets in your blood pretty quickly,” he says — is doing his best, a project at a time, to shape parts of the city he envisions for his little girls.

His company currently has some 100,000 square feet of heritage office space complete, or nearing completion, in some of Vancouver’s most historic neighbourhoods, and a project list that includes Gastown’s Alhambra, Garage and Terminus buildings, the Flack Block on Hastings, the Bowman Block on Beatty and the Taylor Building on Water Street — the latter two winners of Urban Development Institute’s excellence awards.


Westcoast homes: Paris Block ‘Annex’ Homes Soon For Sale

June 14th, 2008
Rendering of Paris Annex, and Paris Block on the left.

Rendering of Paris Annex, and Paris Block on the left.

Westcoast homes – Paris Block ‘Annex’ Homes Soon For Sale

Saturday, June 14, 2008
Vancouver Sun 

More than a century may separate the Salient Group’s new Paris Annex from the 29-residence restored Paris Block (right) at Hastings and Abbott In the Downtown Eastside, but they still have plenty in common. ‘The Annex will complement its neighbour in design and purpose,’ a Salient news release says, ‘These two buildings will share corridors, stairs and an elevator, and the juxtaposition of old and new speaks for The Salient Group’s commitment to sensitive development in Vancouver’s original neighbourhood.’ The Paris Block, built in 1907, sold out last summer. 

The six-storey building kept its painted brick façade, its turn-of-the-century cornices, sills and centre-pivoting windows. The homes in the new Paris Annex, with its minimal concrete frame and glass and aluminum façade, will range in size from 689 square feet to 1.415 square feet with prices starting at under $400,000. Salient expects to begin selling later this month.

Vancouver Sun: Robert Fung talks about restoring the Flack Block

May 5th, 2008
Robert Fung Restoring Flack Block

Flack Block from Victory Park.

Vancouver Sun’s Westcoast Homes editor Michael Sasges speaks with Robert Fung about some of the work involved with restoring the Flack Block.

Click here to listen to the audio interview.

Vancouver Sun: Landmark Victorian restored

April 19th, 2008
The Flack Block, across from Victory Park at the corner of Hastings and Cambie Streets.

The Flack Block, across from Victory Park at the corner of Hastings and Cambie Streets.

 by Michael Sasges
The Vancouver Sun, Westcoast Homes
April 19, 2008

The building is a pointer to the growth of the city in the decades after the arrival of the national railways and to the contribution of Edwardian and Victorian architects to Vancouver’s first-city status in a young British Columbia.

Slideshow: Developer Robert Fung describes some of the surprises he encountered in the Flack Block. You can watch the slideshow/interview here: Vancouver Sun: Robert Fung talks about restoring the Flack Block.

His usual work the restoration of older commercial and industrial buildings for residential re-use, developer Robert Fung has passed the last two years or so organizing the restoration of an older building for commercial reuse.

The building is the Flack Block. By next year, it will have commanded the northeast corner of Hastings and Cambie in downtown Vancouver for 110 years.

The rehabilitation work reintroduced or restored: 
1) Exterior features damaged or removed over the years, such as an archway 
2) Exterior features that have survived the decades, such as the sandstone facades and the wood-trimmed windows
3) The original lightwell 
4) The original stairwell and elevator cage

As well as adding a new top floor, the new-construction work brought a 19th-century building up to 21st-century seismic, structural and building-systems standards, and introduced a new elevator and shaft.

The building is a pointer to the growth of the city in the decades after the arrival of the national railways and to the contribution of Edwardian and Victorian architects to Vancouver’s first-city status in a young British Columbia.

‘‘The Flack Block is a significant landmark component of the early retail and commercial fabric of West Hastings when Hastings Street was one of the most prominent commercial streets in early Vancouver,” city hall staff told council. (more…)

Westcoast Homes: Bowman Block: Remaining warehouse apartments released

January 20th, 2007


Bowman – Remaining warehouse apartments released
Beatty Street addresses surge in value between pre-construction release and today

Vancouver Sun, Westcoast Homes
Chantal Eustace
Saturday, January, 20, 2007

If the walls of the bowman block could talk, they would have a century of stories to spill, with the latest chapter the conversion of the warehouse into 38 apartments, all but 13 held back from the market by the developer until the building was ready, or almost ready, for its second century.

Three years in the “writing,” the Bowman apartments are a statement about the power of contrast in residential interiors, energy-efficient windows, for example, against beams of wood blackened slightly during a fire 80 years ago.

This narrative in juxtaposition is only part of the ”story,” however. For the Bowman Block’s developer, Robert Fung, it is a means of expressing an intention, less to rehabilitate an Edwardian structure and more to elevate the building to the built-environment prominence it enjoyed in its first decades.

”One of our goals with heritage rehabilitation projects is to bring these important buildings back to prominence in today’s environment,” Fung says.

“We try and reinstate each of these buildings as a landmark, with the intent that they become recognized and iconic in the fabric of the city.”

The warehouses of downtown Vancouver have been undergoing conversion into homes for almost 25 years, with the first conversion in the city’s history occurring up the street.

The lessons learned in those 25 years, by the development fraternity and city hall and the market, mean conversions undertaken today inevitably generate better homes than the first-generation conversions, Fung says.

But are they profitable? “It makes sense,” he says. “It’s a successful project all around. We were able to achieve the quality of the project that we wanted and the suites that we wanted. . . . At the end of the day it made sense.”


Westcoast Homes: Bowman Block Featured

February 4th, 2006
Robert Fung Gastown Message

The warehouse’s windows have enthralled Salient’s Robert Fung since he first walked into the Edwardian structure about two years ago.

Lofty expectations – Warehouse homes add to downtown eastside rejuvenation

Westcoast Homes, Vancouver Sun
Saturday, February 4, 2006

Photos: Glenn Baglo Vancouver Sun 
Story: Michael Sasges 

The Bowman ware house-conversion is a consequential downtown-residency addition structurally and functionally, more than equal to the expectations and aspirations of its sponsors, corporate and government. 

Posts, beams and flooring manufactured from ancient Douglas firs in the first years of the previous century and brick and windows, also manufactured in those years, will enclose most of the homes. 

Stainless steel and titanium will clad the appliances. Stone will top the counters. Custom shades will cover the windows. 

These elements infuse the expectations of developer and designer with their integrity, that the 38 homes will be memorable and singular.

The Bowman’s developer, Robert Fung, expects the homes will appreciate by being appreciated.  “ . . . we think we’ve achieved, have come up with, something that is very unique, that the people who invest in this building, who make their homes in this building, will have a very good long-term investment. They [the homes] are things that will carry value,” he says.