Venue Updates

110 Water Street

Last updated: March 2024

Wow, this took a lot longer than we thought it would. 

We started this project in 2019, when (knowing we were both outgrowing our current venue at 195 E 26 Ave and that the building was going to be torn down) we commissioned a space planning report through a small grant from the City of Vancouver. 

This plan was completed in 2020 and, while Covid shut us down, we used this direction to search for a new space. Over the next year, we looked at many spaces but none of them worked with the size, location, amenities and (most importantly for us) cost that we needed. 

We first looked at the long-time empty commercial space at 110 Water Street in 2021 and, over the next year, we worked on securing funding and a lease to move in. 

Little Mountain Gallery assembled a (constantly expanding) team of specialist consultants to help us navigate the City’s permitting process. 

We thought our development and building permits would be approved by the spring and we’d be able to open in the summer (or at latest fall) of 2022. 

We really didn’t understand what an undertaking this would be. 

We took possession of the space in August, 2022 and, since then, we’ve been on the hook for all operational costs (rent/utilities/insurance/etc) while our permit process dragged on.

While we were waiting, we began hosting interim community programming at the venue in January, 2023 at no rental costs to programmers. 

This allowed us to get working experience with the space, equipment, neighbourhood and audiences. 

We thought this was only going to continue until for a couple months before the permits came in. Finally in August we shut down thinking that we’d be able to start construction and open in fall of 2023. 

Nope!

We finally got our permits and were able to break ground in January, 2024. 

While the scope of the project and building plans hadn’t changed at all since 2022, the costs of labour and materials sure had. 

When we started the project, quotes for the work were around $200,000 – $300,000 which included all of the physical work along with the planning, permit fees and consultants we needed to bring in. This was already an unbelievable amount of money for a venue with no staff, no capital project experience and no savings. 

As we’re now wrapping up (hopefully!) construction, costs are nearing or beyond $1 million. This money all went into the project towards capital infrastructure expenses (plus those operating expenses on top of that). 

We’re eternally grateful for the granting bodies that believed in this weird little project for a comedy centre. 

Community Impact Real Estate Society, The City of Vancouver, Heritage Canada, the BC Arts Council, the Government of Canada, Pacific Economic Development Canada and all of their patient, patient staff. 

Also, thank you to everyone who donated their time over the past five years. 

If we all knew what this was going to entail when we started, I don’t know we would have stuck with it. 

Our blind ignorance really benefited the project!

Many people donated thousands of hours of work to make this fever dream a reality. 

You know who you are. 

Thank you. 

Now we’re on to a new stage as we continue to bungle through running this thing. 

We can’t blame the City any more, we’re now bungling solo. 

Hope to see you in April.

— Brent