October 11th, 2008
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.