100 Braid Street Studios is poised to become home to the largest studio space for artists outside of Vancouver.
Susan Greig, who opened the studio/event space at 100 Braid St. in June 2014, recently signed a lease to rent out the top floor of the building. Already home to 16 studios, the expanded space will allow the business to accommodate an additional 28 to 30 studios.
“We will have approximately 46 studios,” Greig said of the expansion. “We will be the biggest studio outside of Vancouver.”
When Greig rented the ground-floor space at 100 Braid St. four years ago, she told the landlord she was interested in the upstairs space if the tenant ever left.
“I am stoked,” she said about acquiring the upstairs space. “There is light on three sides of the building. As wonderful as the main floor is, it is even better upstairs. And upstairs will function differently, a little bit.”
While the man floor functions as a communal space, Greig said the upper floor will be more like Parker Street Studios in Vancouver, where studios have their own doors.
“One-half of it is already in small offices. There is not a lot of renovation on that half. The other half, I’m working with an architect and a code consultant to create individual studios,” she said. “We are at the point where we have a floor plan. If an artist approaches us and says I want a bigger space, or I want this or that, we can customer build at this point.”
Along with individual studios, the venue has space that’s rented out for weddings and other events. The 1929 heritage building was once home to B.C. Distillery and Winery.
Folks will get a chance to check out the space during the 2018 New West Cultural Crawl, which takes place on Aug. 11 and 12. The studio is taking part in the cultural crawl Aug. 11 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is hosting an open house to show off the new space from 5 to 8 p.m. that same day.
“The renovations will not be done by the Cultural Crawl,” Greig said. “We hope to take people on little tours or let people see the space. We will have some food trucks.”
In 2016, city council approved an official community plan amendment and a zoning amendment bylaw for the site, which will see Urban Academy partnering with Wesgroup Properties on a development that includes a 60,000-square-foot school, a residential highrise and 4,300 square feet of art gallery and studio space built at 100 Braid St. Construction of the Urban Academy building is underway at the site.
With a current waiting list of 52, Greig is thrilled that the Wesgroup is allowing her to rent more space in the building at Braid and Brunette. While Wesgroup has indicated its plan is to demolish the building, Greig is confident it will stand long enough for her to feel comfortable signing a lease for additional space in the building.
“They have been very supportive. They have put a lot of upgrades into the building so that we can stay there,” she said of building improvements and installation of a monitored fire alarm system. “It has been really, really great.”