Request for Expressions of Interest: BC Artscape Sun Wah

Posted: July 2, 2019


BC Artscape invites professional artists and collectives, not-for-profit cultural and community organizations, and community groups to submit an Expression of Interest for space at BC Artscape Suh Wah, our community cultural hub located in the Sun Wah Centre at 268 Keefer Street in Chinatown. 

BCA Sun Wah is home to a wide range of cultural organizations, community groups and artists that share a commitment to being engaged and responsible to Chinatown and the surrounding area's communities. By providing affordable and secure rental space, we strive to nurture an environment that supports our tenants' work while serving the neighbourhood

Through this RFEOI we have two aims:

  • To share information with you; about the available space, renovations, our process and our community; 

  • To learn from you - how do you as artists, cultural organizations and community groups see yourself being part of BCA Sun Wah; what would you propose to do, and what physical space requirements would you need to make that happen? 

Responses to the RFEOI will guide BC Artscape in the design and renovation of unoccupied space at BCA Sun Wah to create affordable and secure units suitable for uses including but not limited to production, exhibition, rehearsal, performance and education, and to identify potential tenancies.

BC Artscape is committed to establishing a diverse, inclusive community at BCA Sun Wah and prioritizes applications from under-represented groups. BC Artscape encourages applications from people of colour, Indigenous persons, women, LGBTQ2-identified persons, and persons with disabilities. 

An Open House will be held on July 11th 3:30-5:30pm for interested applicants to tour the spaces and ask questions about the RFEOI. Please RSVP by email to

The Available Space

Approximately 4700 square feet currently configured as two separate large units is unoccupied in the LG level of our project. The existing large units could be separated into a range of smaller unit sizes for the above mentioned uses.

The LG level is approximately 20,000 sq.ft total, with 16 to 20 foot high ceilings, access to a loading bay, freight and passenger elevators, as well as a shared kitchen, gender-neutral and universal-access washrooms, and wash-out sinks. Please note that the LG level does not have natural light. Existing tenants on this level include artists and artist-collectives, a gallery and a social-enterprise gym. For a full list of current BC Artscape Sun Wah tenants click here.

Our Process

BC Artscape has secured infrastructure funding to renovate the unoccupied spaces. Prior to commencing renovations, we want to confirm a range of unit sizes and potential uses in order to best determine the design, functionality and affordability of the new spaces. 

The intent of our renovations is to provide separated units with appropriate lighting and electrical service, mechanical and sprinkler distribution and high-speed wifi. Additional improvements are the responsibility of tenants. 

Following the commencement of the renovations, BC Artscape will follow-up with qualified applicants to confirm interest and share updated floorplans, and confirm suite features and the timeline for completion. BC Artscape will, with the guidance of our Tenant Advisory Committee, determine which applicants to invite for further detailed discussions. 

Our goal will be to identify qualified applicants who meet our criteria for listed spaces, and who will contribute to the development of an inclusive, engaged community. Submitting an Expression of Interest is non-binding and does not entitle or obligate the applicant to enter into a Lease Agreement. 

Rental Rates 

BC Artscape will rent the units at a below-market rate of $2.06 per square foot per month ($24.72 per square foot per year), exclusive of GST. This rate represents an all-in cost inclusive of property taxes, building maintenance, utilities, Wi-fi and a proportional share of common area expenses.

A range of lease terms will be available, with a minimum of 1 year with options to renew, to be confirmed through a signed Lease Agreement.

About BC Artscape Sun Wah

Opened in March 2018, BCA Sun Wah is a community cultural hub located in Chinatown. Spanning 50,000 square feet over 3 floors in the Sun Wah Centre at 268 Keefer, BCA Sun Wah provides secure affordable space to a diverse mix of artists, cultural organizations, social impact organizations and community groups. 

Operating Principles 

  • BC Artscape Sun Wah is located on unceded Coast Salish shared lands of xwməθkwəyəm (Musqueam), Skxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səlilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) - and strives to be a respectful and collaborative steward in this context. 

  • All are welcome regardless of age, socioeconomic status, language, culture or gender. 

  • The heritage values and cultural landscape of Chinatown is reflected in our tenanting, programming and spaces. Language accessibility is supported by Chinese-speaking staff and translation. 

  • In acknowledgement of the influx of capital we bring to the neighborhood, we share space, information, and resources with our low-income neighbors and support the businesses in the community that are essential to the community. 

  • Arts and culture is central to community building and connectedness. Programming offered by our tenants and program partners will appeal to a broad range of audiences and experiences to encourage community participation. 

  • A community stewardship model rooted in the cultural context of the Chinatown and DTES neighborhoods will ensure tenant and community involvement in project governance and operations. 

  • Relationships and partnerships between our tenants and the wider community are built on collaboration, respect, and reciprocity.

About the Building:

BCA Sun Wah is located within the Sun Wah Centre. BCA Sun Wah tenants have access to the following:

  • 7:30AM-11:59PM access for BCA tenants

  • Ground floor main entrance on Keefer Street

  • Fully accessible

  • Passenger elevator

  • Freight elevator with loading bay

  • Sprinkler system

  • Washrooms on each floor, including universal toilet rooms

  • Shared kitchens/lunchrooms on each floor

  • Secure access system

  • Secure bike parking

  • Paid parking on levels 5-8 operated by Impark. 

About BC Artscape

BC Artscape is an independent not-for-profit development organization located in Vancouver. In collaboration with the local communities where we operate, we develop affordable spaces, create programming, and engage in advocacy to serve the needs of artists and cultural organizations. 

BC Artscape matches the development of physical infrastructure with a commitment to social infrastructure that is inclusive, collaborative and supportive of local communities and contexts.

How to Submit Your Expression of Interest

Please follow the link below to proceed to the form. The deadline is 5PM July 19, 2019.

The form has fields for the following information: 

Tell Us About Yourself:

  • A description of your background and your area of artistic or cultural practice OR a description of your organization: what is your vision, mandate and mission.

  • A description of what role you think you could play at BCA Sun Wah: what will you do/offer; how will this add to the existing tenant community and project vision;

  • A description of the program(s) you propose to offer at BCA Sun Wah, if any.

  • A description of your experience or relationships with the Chinatown or DTES community, if any.

Tell Us About Your Space Needs:

  • Do you currently have a space?

  • If yes:

    • Square footage

    • Monthly rent

    • Length of lease

  • What would be your space requirements to operate at BCA Sun Wah? 

    • Min/max square footage (taking into consideration our rental rates)

    • Would you plan to make any additional improvements, if so, what would they be? 

      • Amplified sound / sound attenuation

      • Lighting

      • Special flooring

      • Special ventilation

      • Wide doors

Assessment Criteria 

The following criteria will be used to assess each Expression of Interest application for BC Artscape Sun Wah.

Capacity: Does the applicant have the capacity to realize their vision and goals?

  • Does the applicant demonstrate the necessary level of experience to deliver on their vision for the space?

  • Does the applicant have the financial capacity to deliver on what is proposed in their submission?

Community Engagement: will the applicant engage local communities and audiences?

  • How will the applicant contribute to the Chinatown/DTES community and seek to engage local communities in their work?

  • What is the applicant’s relationship and/or history of service to the local community and commitment to providing programming to help animate the centre?

  • How will the applicant seek to collaborate with others in the centre?

Space Needs:

  • Does the proposed use of the dedicated space fit within the available space and contribute to the project vision?

  • Does the proposed dedicated space have synergy with the other proposed dedicated space uses?


BC Artscape respects your privacy. The information submitted is collected and used for the administrative activities related to the rental opportunities at BC Artscape. At all times it will be protected in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.