A group that is hoping to relocate the Vancouver Art Gallery to a purpose-built “iconic” building urged the city’s business community yesterday to pressure city hall into donating a multimillion-dollar downtown site for free.
The VAG is proposing to build a $300-million to $350-million art gallery at the city-owned former bus depot adjacent Queen Elizabeth Theatre. They have raised $90 million and want the city to donate the site.
“It’s the people’s land,” said David Aisenstat, VAG board chair. “And I can’t really think of a better use for that land than a place that for a generation will be a gathering place for our community.”
He said he didn’t know the value of the 1.2-hectare site — the LiveCity Downtown site during the Olympics — but estimated that it was worth tens of millions of dollars.
Vancouver Coun. Heather Deal said the city has had conversations with the VAG, but had yet to see a proposal.
She said other parties were also interested in the site, including one that wants to build office towers.
“They’re asking people to let us know their support for that site, which is fantastic,” Deal said.
“But the city, as a responsible landowner, has to see a business case and a proposal for the site.”