Church eyes downtown Vancouver show theatre
1995 arts facility on Homer Street had 'little effect on the ecology of the community'
The leader of a Vancouver church says he’s negotiating to buy The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts.
Pastor Norm Funk, of the Westside Church in downtown Vancouver, has been tweeting out his progress over the last few weeks, using the hashtag "777" — the centre’s address on Homer Street.
On March 25, Funk wrote: "Impromptu meeting today with two partners in #777 purchase, turns out patriarch of current ownership is a believer."
And then again on April 26: "I have had 7 meetings this week alone re: the Centre, with all them grace filled and Jesus-centred."
Westside Church preaches conservative theology but distinguishes itself with a hip and technologically savvy approach to worship.
The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts opened in 1995 as the Ford Centre for Performing Arts, and cost more than $25 million to build. The 1,800-seat venue advertised itself as a destination for touring Broadway musical shows.
But Howard Jang, executive director of the Arts Club Theatre Company, says the downtown theatre never lived up to lofty expectations.
"The idea [was to have] long-running musicals," he said. "It had very little effect on the ecology of the community. We never really used it as a venue."