An arts hub used by Vancouver's music, theatre and visual-arts community has been given a reprieve by the city, after it had been told earlier it may have to shut down this week.
Renegade Productions operates the former Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company's production facility on East 2nd Avenue – renting out rehearsal and studio space and also supplying props to various theatre companies and others after purchasing the Playhouse's collection in the wake of the theatre company shutting down.
Facing possible eviction Tuesday, Renegade was told during a morning meeting at City Hall that it can remain in the building.
"I'm feeling really relieved," said Renegade president Jim Buckshon. "All our current projects still can go ahead. Everybody can stay. Everybody's not threatened. Auditions and rehearsals for upcoming plays are going to proceed. I'm elated that there's been such a change."
Last Wednesday, Renegade was informed that a letter was to be issued on Tuesday, shutting the place down due to safety concerns at the property. The following day, the city said it would meet with Renegade Tuesday to try to resolve the issue.
The news of the threatened closing sent Mr. Buckshon scrambling before the long weekend for a possible backup space and sent shockwaves through the arts community. The facility is used by musicians such as Dan Mangan, as well as theatre companies for rehearsals and auditions – and has also served as a venue for events such as the recent theatre production The Competition is Fierce.
At the Tuesday meeting, the city outlined its fire and safety concerns and Renegade responded. They also discussed the exits at the facility, which consists of three separate buildings joined together by a previous owner, which also shut down front doors. Renegade plans to reopen them. It will draw up new architectural plans within the next two weeks.
"We can remain open but we're in the process of bringing in an architect and making sure we address any safety concerns they have quickly, which we can," Mr. Buckshon said.
Patrick Ryan, chief building officer with the city, says Renegade will ensure the sprinkler and fire-alarm systems are appropriate for the space. "It is a good outcome for everybody," he said.
The building is owned by the Beedie Group, which ultimately plans to develop the property, but not without notice to its tenant.
"This building will eventually be slated for demotion but they're talking two to five years," Mr. Buckshon said. "So now we have lots of time to plan ahead; something a little more than one day."