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?
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.
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