February 20, 2012 10:33 am

Vancouver selling historic building to pay down Olympic Village debt

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A venerable piece of Vancouver’s skyline is being sold by the city to pay off the city’s Olympic Village debt.

The Province building, where this newspaper was produced from 1923 until 1960, has been put up for sale by the city.

Patrick Murphy, Vancouver’s property development officer, said Monday that the building was acquired from Millenium Properties in return for bailing out Millenium’s troubled Olympic Village project.

“The city is liquefying its assets to pay back the whole situation with the Olympic Village,” Murphy said.

The Province building was erected in the Edwardian Classical style in 1909.

“It is almost European looking,” said Murphy.

The location at 198 West Hastings St., across from Victory Square, is one of iconic corners of the city.

It was assessed for $8.36 million in 2012 and has 50,000 square feet of floor space spread over seven storeys.

It is made of brick and steel and has received some seismic upgrades.

One unique feature is a one-time sky bridge over the alley to another commercial building next door.

It is on the city’s heritage list but has not been designated heritage.

The building is currently occupied by the Vancouver Film School.

Murphy said a public tendering process will take place with bids closing on March 22.

“There is a lot of interest in the downtown peninsula,” he said.

Although nearby streets are filled with some of the city’s poorest residents, Murphy said things are changing nearby with the Woodwards redevelopment now complete.

He believes the new owner would be reluctant to tear down the structure because about 20,000 square feet more space is allowed in the existing building under current zoning laws than would be permitted if it were to be torn down and rebuilt.

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