The Emily Carr University wants to move from Granville Island to a bigger space, ideally on Great Northern Way.
The Great Northern Way Campus (GNWC) – of which Emily Carr is a partner of – has applied to amend their previously approved hotel use zoning at the West side of the campus land to be changed to allow student housing – ideally for the Emily Carr University.
The Emily Carr University paid for an economic impact study to prove that provincial funding and city zoning would help the provincial economy.
The study, completed by Meyers Norris Penny, says that increasing the number of graduates from 437 to 700 by the year 2020 would, in the most conservative analysis, add nearly $100 million to the provincial gross domestic product and create over 2,000 full-time jobs in the creative industry.
An op-ed article, written by Lululemon Athletica CEO Christine Day and Sony Pictures Imageworks Senior VP Rick Mischel – both Emily Carr graduates – appeared in the Vancouver Sun last week supporting this claim.
“Increased training that could be provided on the new campus and assumes that each graduate creates employment for one other person (Emily Carr grads are well known for their entrepreneurism), shows an increased GDP contribution of $283.6 million and the creation of more than 6,200 full-time jobs.”
The authors added that Emily Carr turned away nearly half of qualified undergraduate applicants this year because of a lack of space.
GNWC is owned by the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University,Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. The site was donated by Finning International Inc. to the four institutions in 2001.
The four institutions in turn decided to develop the land into a mixed-use campus commercial area. This worked in par with the city’s own neighbourhood strategy to have the area host more ‘green jobs’ however demand for commercial space has been low in recent years.
The city maintains that they want a limit on new residential development in favour of office space in the area so the campus would be restricted to no more than 100,000 square feet for student housing and 150,000 square feet for live/work use.
Another factor the city is taking under consideration is the future of extending the Millennium Line from VCC/Clark and connecting it to Cambie and Broadway, and eventually to UBC.
Matthew Carter is the President of GNWC, with a background in real estate finance and development. He told the Vancouver Courier last week that the campus wants to create a busy environment on evenings and weekends with supporting amenities in the area to support and foster students living on site.
“One of the things that’s currently lacking that prevents us from attracting creative and digital sector tenants, there isn’t a place to go for coffee or to go for food or a drink after work or a gym or something like that. So we want to bring those sorts of amenities into the community and one thing that makes that easier for those businesses to thrive is if they have a daytime population as well as an evening and weekend population.”
This comes at a time when the campus is midway in constructing a new 51,000-sq. ft Centre for Digital Media which includes high-tech classrooms and 76-studio apartments intended for student housing, on the East side of the land.