Chit Chat restaurant, Blaze Pizza and a co-working office-space venture Spaces are slated to fill the former Tom Lee Music building at 929 Granville Street, Business in Vancouver has learned.
Regus-owned Spaces is a company that offers co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and has agreed to lease 68,000 square feet of office space in the building as well as a further 2,000 square feet, at street level, where it intends to build a cafeteria that will be accessible for its office workers as well as the general public, building owner and Bonnis Properties principal Kerry Bonnis told BIV.
Bonnis Properties also owns much of the central downtown part of Granville street, such as the Best Buy building, the large Commodore Ballroom building that has retail at street level and several other buildings.
Exactly when the new tenants will occupy 929 Granville Street is unclear.
“That’s really in the hands of the City of Vancouver and their wonderful permit processing timeline,” Bonnis said with a laugh.
Bonnis told BIV in December that he expected an international technology company to take the bulk of the space. That deal, however, fell through.
“We actually had a lot of interest from a lot of companies,” he told BIV on February 28.
“Regus basically stepped up quickly, recognizing what a great location and building this is and how it can really be in the center of the city and provide its occupants with all the amenities that the location provides for – from entertainment to shopping to nearby residential to transportation.”
Spaces will take possession of the space this spring and Bonnis expects the company to take several months to do its own tenant improvements – something on top of the extensive renovation that Bonnis Properties has been conducting on the building.
Spaces’ co-working offering will give entrepreneurs the benefit of a full-time office. The people doing the co-working, however, will likely only pay for the number of desks they use. If the arrangement is like other Spaces sites, they will be able to choose their own permanent desk or sit wherever they like each day through a setup where desks are available on a first come, first served basis.
Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association CEO Charles Gauthier was excited when he heard the news.
“Wow,” he told BIV. “I’ve been trying to get this news for months.”
Retail analyst and DIG360 principal David Gray was similarly excited for what the transaction means for Granville Street.
“This is critical for that stretch of Granville Street,” he said. “It’s been a high-potential zone for a long time but it’s just dulled. If the street were to have more vacant stretches, that could chill it out for a long time to come.”