Leasing FAQ’s

Q: Where can I find more information about Granville Island leasing opportunities and requirements?

A: Leasable spaces across Granville Island are managed according to the Granville Island Leasing Guidelines and are either directly administered by CMHC, or through head lease tenants who manage their own buildings, subtenants and tenant mix according to a prescribed use clause. Leasing information such as available spaces and leasing guidelines can be found at: https://admin.granvilleisland.com/leasing/how-to-lease/

Q: What are you doing with the former Emily Carr University of Art + Design buildings?

A: We are happy to share that the South Building comprised of approximately 60,000sf was transferred from ECUAD directly to Arts Umbrella in 2018. Arts Umbrella is currently in the process of transforming the building into a state of the art performing arts centre which will have expanded programming and be able to serve more members of the arts community than ever before. They are currently estimating to complete this massive renovation in 2020. More information is available on the Arts Umbrella website here.

The North Building has been retained by CMHC and is currently in planning stages with the goal of converting into the Arts & Innovation Hub with the following vision:

  • A new destination and experience focused on arts and innovation.
  • An animated, creative, collaborative and interactive public space.
  • A space for innovation with a focus on the creative sectors.
  • A mix of non-profit and for-profit enterprises.
  • A space for environmental sustainability.
  • A place of opportunity for local First Nations

More information on the Arts & Innovation Hub can be found at http://www.artsandinnovation.com/#vision. The Granville Island 2040 Report which speaks to the goals of Arts & Innovation Hub and many other GI2040 initiatives to support arts & culture on Granville Island can be found at http://www.granvilleisland2040.ca.

Q: Which leasable spaces are managed directly by CMHC and which are not?

A: CMHC manages the individual tenancies in the Public Market, The Net Loft, Railspur Alley and the surrounding Railspur District, and leases various spaces or buildings across the island for a range of tenants and uses.

Some multi-tenanted buildings are managed by Head Lease tenants who oversee their own individual tenancies according to a prescribed use clause. These Head Lease tenants include Maritime Market & Marina, Creekhouse, Pier 32, Foreshore and Kids Market.

CMHC partners with a third parties through management or tenancy agreements to facilitate the management, programming and rentals for CMHC’s theatre spaces which include Performance Works, Waterfront Theatre, The Nest at Festival House and The Revue Stage.

For information on Performance Works, Waterfront Theatre or The Nest, please visit http://www.gitd.ca or contact [email protected].

For information on the Revue Stage, please visit http://www.redgate.at.org or contact [email protected].

For information on a specific Head Lease building as listed above, please email [email protected] with the subject line “Head Lease Building Inquiry” so we can provide you with the most up to date information available.

Q: What types of tenant uses are permitted in leased spaces on Granville Island?

A: Tenants across the island span a myriad of uses including grocery and prepared food, arts & crafts in the Public Market, restaurant, retail, industrial, office, marina, hotel, recreational and a variety of arts and culture uses include performing arts, production and a mix of artists, artisans and makers of various disciplines which can be seen in studios, retail and office spaces across the island. No national chains or franchises are permitted on Granville Island, however there are a few exceptions such as The Keg and JJ Bean, who have their roots on Granville Island.

Q: What types of spaces are available for lease? Can someone have a business on Granville Island without leasing a permanent space?

A: There are various opportunities for those interested in doing business on Granville Island to become part of our tenant community. In additional to the spaces available for lease within the buildings across Granville Island, which generally have lease terms between 3-10 years, there are programs which provide a lower barrier to entry for cottage industry businesses and others who are just starting out, or are looking for a lower-risk and lower-cost option to suit their needs. The Granville Island Farmers Market, Public Market Day Vendor and Pop-Up programs provide short term or seasonal opportunities for locally owned or operated businesses. These programs are meant to support and enhance the objectives set out in the Granville Island Leasing Guidelines, and further enhance the tenant mix and offering on Granville Island. More information on all 3 programs can be found at http://www.granvilleisland.com by typing in the name of the program in the search box.

Q: What is the Pop-Up Program and how is it different from the permanent Creative Use leasable spaces?

A: The Pop-Up Program was developed to provide short-term rental spaces (between 2-5 weeks) on Granville Island in simplified license agreement format with minimal investment and barriers to entry. The aim is to provide an ever-changing mix of tenants with a variety of business concepts and use of space which compliment, expand or provide new offerings amongst the existing tenant mix on Granville Island. Rentals are prioritized for creative use artists, makers, unique brands and gallerists. All renters must be able to fulfill minimum operating hours of 11am-6pm 7 days/week. Bookings will be accepted in 2-4 week timeslots. More information can be found at https://admin.granvilleisland.com/leasing/pop-up-spaces/.

Q: How does CMHC support arts & culture through its leasable spaces?

A: Providing below-market rental rates for performing arts production, theatre & artist and maker studio space is one of the ways CMHC fulfills its mandate to support arts & culture on Granville Island. Creative Use spaces are leased to tenants with Minimum Rent rates that are often significantly below current real estate market value, and often Additional Rent rates are also subsidized by CMHC to provide further affordability. There are multiple initiatives and practices which allow low, at-cost or no-cost options for the arts & culture community to be integrated and showcased within the multi-disciplinary and multi-use Granville Island community outside of the Granville Island Creative Use leased spaces. This includes programming and events in public spaces which are facilitated or supported by CMHC’s arts & culture programming department, through our Cultural Partner program and through a theatre management contract to program and manage Waterfront Theatre, Performance Works and The Nest at Festival House.

Q: How does CMHC select tenants for its directly managed leasable spaces?

A: CMHC leases spaces in accordance with the Granville Island Leasing Guidelines which is publicly available at https://admin.granvilleisland.com/leasing/how-to-lease/. CMHC continues to evaluate new and existing tenants which includes but may not be limited to the below leasing objectives:

  • Encouraging the development of those arts, crafts and cottage industries where the public may view and purchase products produced on the premises
  • Seek out tenants who contribute to the animation of Granville Island
  • Retaining a retail mix that focuses on unique, high quality and locally based offerings

When a space becomes available for lease in a high demand location or use, it is generally posted on our website through the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process to ensure transparency and equal access to information for all potential applicants.

Q: What is the Expressions Of Interest (EOI) process and how does it work?

A: The Expression Of Interest (EOI) process is meant to provide an equal opportunity for anyone interested in spaces posted for leasing availability on Granville Island to have equal access to information before applying. As of 2019, CMHC has enhanced its Creative Use EOI listing format to include clear and often a space-specific list of tenant expectations and eligibility requirements, lease category, permitted use of space, space specific FAQs, and rental rates which include clear estimated monthly costs. Pre-registered space tours for high interest EOI postings are provided to allow interested applicants to view the space, and to ask any questions they may have of CMHC representatives after reviewing the EOI posting and before submitting their EOI application. More information is available on our website at https://admin.granvilleisland.com/leasing/how-to-lease/.

Q: What is the new Creative Use EOI process?

In 2019, CMHC significantly modified the EOI posting and process use for its Creative Use spaces in order to provide increased transparency around applicant criteria, rental charges, and to offer a new tenant selection process which provides the option to include non-CMHC arts community members to form part of a Tenant Selection Committee for high-interest spaces to evaluate and score shortlisted applicants and determine the lead proponent for a given space.

Recently, 3 ground floor creative use spaces and 2 2nd floor spaces were posted through the new EOI process which resulted in a combined 83 applications for the first stage of shortlisting. We are happy to share we have received a diverse array of uses which meet the criteria and will be forming a Tenant Selection Committee to review the shortlisted candidates which will consist of 4 CMHC members and 3 non-CMHC arts community members. The non-CMHC members will include 2 on-island members and 1 off-island member who have experience as an artist or maker, or who have participated in evaluating proposals by artists or makers. Those shortlisted by the Tenant Selection Committee will be contacted in to participate in the final stage of tenant selection, at which point a lead proponent will be determined and will enter into lease negotiations with CMHC.

Q: How are Creative Use EOI applications evaluated under the new 2019 pilot process? What happens once they are submitted?

Based on feedback from the arts, culture and the creative use community over the past year, CMHC is piloting a new process in 2019 for tenant selection within its creative use spaces. This will include a two phase tenant selection process as detailed below:

Initial applications will be evaluated by CMHC leasing staff; in order to be considered for 1st phase shortlisting, applicants must ensure their business plan/proposal meets all criteria & requests outlined in the EOI. The tenant selection committee will be then be formed, comprised of between not less than 3 non-CMHC staff jurors from the arts community with experience as jurors in a similar capacity, two of which will be selected from the on-island arts community. The tenant selection committee will then shortlist the top 3-5 candidates who will then be brought in for an interview and in-person presentation, and evaluated accordingly. Following scoring, the lead proponent will be engaged in the offer to lease negotiations with CMHC.

Q: What does CMHC consider when reviewing potential tenant applications?

A: CMHC continues to evaluate new and existing tenants based on the same leasing objectives as detailed in the Granville Island Leasing Guidelines. These include:

  • Encouraging the development of those arts, crafts and cottage industries where the public may view and purchase products produced on the premises
  • Seek out tenants who contribute to the animation of Granville Island
  • Retaining a retail mix that focuses on unique, high quality and locally based offerings

Additionally, specific lease criteria of the space will be determined based on the lease category (retail, restaurant, office, and creative use), location and type of space being offered for lease. EOI Criteria often requires the applicant to respond to the following questions:

  • How does your concept align with the Granville Island Mission & Vision Statement?
  • Does your concept and use of space meet the Granville Island Leasing Objectives?
  • What is the ownership structure (Sole Proprietor, Partnership, Not for Profit, Non-Profit, Incorporation)? Note: National Chains or Franchises will not be considered.
  • How do you plan to utilize the space & how will that use benefit and/or showcase arts & culture or the arts community on Granville Island? (How many people will be utilizing the space? What will the hours of animation be? Who would be interacting in the space aside from the leaseholder?)
  • How will you present the space (conceptual drawing of the studio/storefront, interior layout)?
  • Do you have the ability to fund tenant improvements to achieve your desired use and presentation of the space?
  • Do you have the ability to fund ongoing operational expenses of the space and business concept?

Q: How does CMHC determine rental rates for its leasable spaces? What are tenants charged under their lease?

A: Most of our spaces are leased on a Triple Net lease format, meaning tenants are responsible for base rent aka Minimum and Percentage Rent plus 3 item that make up Additional Rent: property tax, insurance costs & common area maintenance (CAM) which includes all recoverable costs available under the lease to be recovered from the tenant by the landlord.

Minimum Rent and Percentage Rent (base rent) are based on comparable spaces in the surrounding area according to the lease category, location, condition and intended use of the space, with the exception of our Creative Use spaces which are offered at below-market Minimum Rent and often include subsidized Additional Rent rates. Some tenants may pay utility bills, property tax, or other recoverable costs directly, and others pay these costs as recoverable expenses through CMHC.

Q: How does CMHC determine rental rates and rent increases for existing Creative Use tenants?

A: Providing below-market space for performing arts, production, theatre & artist and maker studio space is one of the ways CMHC fulfills its mandate to support arts & culture on Granville Island. Creative Use spaces are leased to tenants with Minimum Rent rates that are often significantly below current real estate market value, and often Additional Rent rates (recoverable costs such property tax, insurance and repairs & maintenance) are often partially subsidized. Existing creative use tenants who are not paying Minimum Rent in the range of newly posted creative use spaces are often provided gradual rental rate increases, often as low as $0.50 per square foot in their annual rent calculation. For an average 1,000SF studio, this equates to an increase of less than $42.00 per month.

There are multiple programs, initiatives and practices that operate in addition to the creative use leased spaces on Granville Island which provide low or no-cost opportunities for individuals, groups and organization to engage with or become part of the Granville Island community. For more information please reach out to [email protected] or visit our website at http://www.granvilleisland.com.

Q: How does CMHC decide if it will offer an existing tenant a new lease?

A: CMHC continues to evaluate new and existing tenants based on the same leasing objectives as detailed in the Granville Island Leasing Guidelines. These include:

  • Encouraging the development of those arts, crafts and cottage industries where the public may view and purchase products produced on the premises
  • Seek out tenants who contribute to the animation of Granville Island
  • Retaining a retail mix that focuses on unique, high quality and locally based offerings

Upon expiry a lease terms with an existing tenant, CMHC evaluates that tenant based on the leasing guidelines and objectives, and will also assess if the tenant has been continuously meeting its responsibilities under their existing lease agreement.

CMHC values and encourages long-term relationships with its tenants and is tasked with providing between 90-120 new leases or lease renewal offers to tenants on an annual basis. Despite the fact that most leases on the island have terms of between 3-10 years, the average tenure for tenants on Granville Island as of 2019 is 21 years, which means the vast majority of tenants have been re-approved by CMHC on multiple occasions. On Railspur Alley and in the surrounding Railspur District, many of our creative use tenants have been in place for over 15 years.

Q: What changes have been made in recent years to address leasing concerns brought forward by some members of the Creative Use tenant community?

A: We have been listening to concerns of the artist & makers on the island regarding lease term and creative use tenant selection and have taken the following steps:

Existing artist & artisan tenants have been receiving longer and more flexible lease terms than in the last 5 years than were provided in recent history. There is an appetite by CMHC to create a more simplified creative use lease structure for small scale artists and artisans and with it a more transparent tenant mandate and evaluation process. CMHC is also open to offering longer lease terms for creative use spaces and exploring what criteria for longer lease terms may be. CMHC plans to discuss these potential changes with all stakeholders, including with both on and off-island arts communities, in 2020. A new EOI application process was recently finalized and used for the application of various creative use spaces which were posted in Summer 2019, and are currently in initial stages of shortlisting.

Q: If a tenant has concerns about their specific lease agreement or leasing policies or practices, who can they contact?

A: Any tenant with leasing questions or concerns is encouraged to connect our leasing staff by phone, email, or by scheduling an in-person meeting. Tenants can do so by calling the Granville Island Administration Office at 604-666-6655 or emailing [email protected].

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