Exterior of 825 Pacific
Photo credit: Ryan Snikvalds

New culture hub opens in downtown Vancouver

825 Pacific – a certified Passive House zero emissions building - provides much-needed space for artists and non-profits

May 14 2024 –

This morning, representatives from the City of Vancouver joined artists, members of the cultural community and government partners to celebrate the opening of 825 Pacific , a City-owned, 21,000-square-foot, arts and cultural hub in Vancouver’s Downtown South. 

221A Artist Society , a Vancouver non-profit cultural organization, will operate 825 Pacific as a shared artist production, presentation, and administrative facility for more than 40 artists and non-profit organizations.

The stand-alone, seven storey facility includes 26 non-market artist studios and co-working spaces, along with 221A’s headquarters, a research library, and an event space. Among the new tenants will be the inaugural recipients of the 221A Fellowship Program .

“We are thrilled to celebrate the opening of 825 Pacific which offers much-needed space for artists and cultural organizations to thrive in Vancouver’s Downtown South,” said Ken Sim, Mayor, City of Vancouver. "We recognize that the most critical challenge facing arts and culture in Vancouver, and globally, is affordability of space. Enabling partners to build affordable, accessible, and sustainable long-term arts and cultural spaces is one of Vancouver’s key cultural objectives and helps to support a vibrant arts sector which is vital to our city’s identity, quality of life and economic prosperity.”

825 Pacific is the result of a $15.7 million Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) by Grosvenor Americas. These types of partnerships play an important role in the delivery of public amenities and infrastructure, such as cultural facilities, childcare, and affordable housing. Supporting affordable, accessible arts and cultural spaces is a key priority in the Vancouver City Council-approved Making Space for Arts and Culture report, as part of the City’s culture plan Culture|Shift: Blanketing the City in Arts and Culture.

221A completed the $2.5 million interior fit-out of the building funded primarily through support from the City of Vancouver Cultural Spaces Grant Program, the BC Arts Council, the Province of British Columbia, Canadian Heritage, and the Community, Culture, and Recreation Infrastructure Stream of Infrastructure Canada’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).

The location of 825 Pacific, in Downtown South, will complement other cultural venues in the area including Howe Street Studios, The Cinematheque, Cineworks, Canadian Music Centre, The Dance Centre, Orpheum, VSO School of Music, Contemporary Art Gallery and the Vancouver International Film Centre. It will also serve as a connection to the Granville entertainment district and the Cultural Precinct that includes the Queen Elizabeth and Playhouse Theatres, Central Library, CBC and the site for the new Vancouver Art Gallery.

The building is the tallest certified commercial Passive House development in Canada, making the interior environment very quiet and comfortable and greatly reducing its operating energy costs. The all-electric building also doesn’t use any fossil fuels and will produce nearly zero greenhouse gas emissions during its lifespan. To advance the City of Vancouver’s sustainability goals, the City requires all new City-owned buildings to be certified to the Passive House standard, the world-leading standard in energy efficient construction.


Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge

“Investing in artist spaces and cultural hubs is more than just financial support; it’s a testament to our belief in the power of art to transform lives and communities. These spaces serve as incubators for innovation, where artists can freely explore and collaborate, pushing boundaries and challenging perspectives. By supporting them, we’re not only nurturing artistic expression, but also developing vibrant cities and neighbourhoods, preserving our heritage and ensuring that creativity continues to thrive for generations to come.”

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, Lana Popham 

“Arts and culture are critical to the well-being of societies and support healthier and more vibrant communities. Through exciting projects such as 825 Pacific, we are actively breaking down barriers to finding permanent creative spaces and empowering artists to provide for themselves and their families.”

Brian McBay, Executive Director, 221A Artist Society

“825 Pacific provides much-needed rent stability to artists and arts organizations at a time of extreme affordability pressure. “We couldn’t be more thankful for the municipal, provincial, and federal support for this project, and to the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh whose land we are on. We look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts to keeping BC communities vibrant.”

Kenji Maeda, Executive Director, Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance and tenant at 825 Pacific

"Whether due to inflation, increased evictions or the precarity of existing cultural spaces, the cost of moving into a new space takes away from the work of arts and culture organizations. At 825 Pacific, we've been able to meet our members, artists, and other organizations who are making an impact in the community. My hope is that 825 Pacific acts as a baseline for more safe and accessible cultural spaces."