The Vancouver Art Gallery has found a new location and its current home is being sized up by other institutions.

The VAG will move into a new building on land occupied until now by the Plaza of Nations in Vancouver near BC Place.

"The False Creek location presents an exciting opportunity to imagine a new Vancouver Art Gallery on this beautiful waterfront site," said VAG director Kathleen Bartels. 

The gallery will double in size in its new home to 320,000 square feet.

A call for designs for the new VAG will go out to architects in the fall, and construction is expected to start in 2011.

The move won't happen for several years — probably in 2013.

The VAG has outgrown its current home in a 1905 neoclassical building on Robson Square in downtown Vancouver.

The building, designed by Francis Rattenbury and redesigned by Arthur Erickson includes a central dome, columns and even a brace of lions flanking the front steps. 

Since it opened in its current location in 1983, the VAG has accumulated a collection of more than 7,600 pieces, valued at well over $100 million.

Formerly the provincial courthouse, the building is owned by the province and leased to the city until at least 2017. Among the possible new tenants is the Vancouver Museum, which is now sharing a building with the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, across False Creek from the downtown core.

Chief executive Nancy Noble said the Vancouver Museum is "actively looking" at the VAG building.

"It's not ideal," she said, "but the timing could work."

The Vancouver Art Gallery had been expected to move to a site behind the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in what was being called Vancouver's "cultural precinct."

But late Friday, Premier Gordon Campbell announced a deal for the new location as he made an announcement about the renovation of BC Place.  

The VAG's new neighbours will be BC Place, a 60,000-seat domed stadium which is home to the CFL's BC Lions, General Motors Place, the 19,000-seat home of the NHL Vancouver Canucks, and the Edgewater Casino.

The deal was brokered with the BC Pavilion Corp. (PavCo), the City of Vancouver, the VAG and Canadian Metropolitan Properties, which owns the Plaza of Nations. CMP donated the site in return for future development considerations from the city.

With files from Paul Grant