As a drummer, Rob Stewart naturally has to have his finger on the heartbeat.

It’s proving to be an excellent high quality outdoors of the rehearsal area as effectively.


Stewart is the co-founder of the humanities collective referred to as Suna Leisure Group, which owns and operates 4 rehearsal areas throughout Vancouver and New Westminster.

The group successfully has a coup on the rehearsal area market in Metro Vancouver and opened the biggest facility of its variety west of Toronto final yr.

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This architectural rendering exhibits what Gateway will seem like upon its completion in early 2021.

Stewart’s subsequent feather in his cap additionally seems to be a Vancouver first. He’s partnered with developer PortLiving to place rehearsal rooms, artwork areas, a dwell venue and a meals location into what’s going to in any other case be a six-storey tower used for storage and different industrial makes use of.

Known as Gateway, the mission broke floor late final yr on Bridgeway Avenue close to the PNE and is anticipated to open in early 2021.

“I don’t suppose this has ever been performed earlier than in Vancouver,” Stewart stated.

Stewart’s latest acquisition will embody 17,000 sq. toes unfold throughout the whole thing of the constructing’s second flooring. Although he has but to finalize the floorplan, artwork studios within the vary of 500 sq. toes and rehearsal rooms as much as 200 sq. toes will make up the personal portion of the area. The remaining footprint will embrace an all-ages music venue and area for a rotating solid of kitchen commissaries, meals truck operations and different meals distributors.

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The venue is costing Stewart’s group round $1 million in up-front prices and he’s secured a five-year lease with choices to resume.

“The attractive factor about this setup is that it’s a self-contained facility and it’s in an industrial zone — there are not any residential condos or homes wherever very shut,” Stewart stated. “There can be no NIMBY folks round there.”

Getting out of outdated warehouses and into new buildings has been a course of that’s two years within the making. It was then that Stewart and Suna companion Amrit Maharaj met PortLiving execs, gave them a tour of their rehearsal services off Clark Drive and launched them to the scope of the Suna workers make-up: Stewart used to work in business insurance coverage and different members of his staff embrace attorneys, architects, realtors and contractors.

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“If you’re making an attempt to place a enterprise collectively, that [staffing complement] makes much more sense for us,” PortLiving senior vice chairman Brad Berry instructed the Courier. “It’s not simply an open concept, they’re pondering by way of this and so they’re turning actual property into lively artwork and music area that’s going to have some longevity and a few life to it.”

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As soon as open in 2021, Gateway will embrace industrial area, rehearsal studios, arts areas, a dwell music venue and meals distributors.

As soon as the event opens, Stewart additionally plans to make use of just a few different firsts. Rooms schedules can be found out solely through an app that tracks instances and utilization. Prime-time customers, those that rehearse or create within the night, can pay greater than these in the course of the day or later into the night.

The music venue, in the meantime, can be run solely on a subscription mannequin. Whereas Stewart hasn’t found out costs but, he provided an instance whereby $10 would get you right into a month’s price of exhibits. The venue received’t be licensed, save for the odd particular occasion, and the overarching concept is to take liquor gross sales out of the dialogue when sizing up an act’s potential or draw.

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“We really feel that the reliance on liquor gross sales to show a band’s price is denying the general public the chance to expertise lots of the new acts and humanities on the market,” Stewart stated. “Once I was a child, I had entry to locations the place I might watch music once I was 15 and 16. There’s nothing like that on the market proper now and there must be.”

And whereas shovels are barely within the floor for Gateway, each Stewart and Berry see extra for the mannequin they’ve established. Industrial vacancies hover close to two per cent and Stewart stated the kind of outdated warehouses historically used for rehearsal areas merely don’t exist anymore, or are out of vary financially.

Different areas nonetheless are working on a hush-hush foundation.

“Most of them are doing it illegally, they’re doing it till they get kicked out, till the neighbours complain or they understand the zoning isn’t proper,” Berry stated. “What Rob and Amrit are doing is that they’re legitimizing it. That’s the largest factor for me. They’re legitimizing an actual want.”




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