I find the report a bit confusing, too, although just to clarify, I don't
think Lowe was talking about $950K being the "lion's share" in terms of the overall $14M cost, but rather that the city is being asked to come up with more than the other municipalities, which are being hit up for $650K. The part I find really confusing is the bit around amenities. As Caramia notes, we can look at this with "Coriolis tainted vision," and if you do that, you have to ask yourself how "amenity" is getting defined here, and (more specifically) what's it being defined in relation to?
I don't know, maybe this sort of dickering just points out how badly we need
a "Coriolis tainted vision" that can clarify things, and put issues on a "level playing field." As it stands, anyone can come along and say anything about amenities and trade offs, and no one has any way to relate them to anything objective since they mean different things to different people.
As for Ian Gillespie's art collection: I haven't seen it, don't know what's in it, but keep in mind that there are plenty of private art collectors who collect not-so-great stuff, but who think they can leverage their private collection in deals.
To see, for example, what can happen when private collectors foist their "collections" on museums/ galleries (typically in some influence-stakes game) read journalist Ken Johnson's [url=http://www.boston.com/news/globe/living/articles/2006/12/29/mixed_blessing/:06b93]Mixed blessing; The highs, lows, and limits of Modernism -- and private collections[/url:06b93].
Googling around, I read this in [url=http://www.rennie.com/livingatshawtower/press_5.html:06b93]Vancouver: City’s ‘Kings of Mondo Condo’ put architecture first and the result is stunning[/url:06b93] by Trevor Boddy:
An art collector himself, Gillespie had previous public art success with Dale Chihuly’s bouquet of glass flowers, closely flanked by Gwen Boyle’s fountains bedecked with icons along the Bute Street side of his much lauded Residences on Georgia.
For the Shaw Tower, the artistic ante was upped by concentrating on a single sculptural work that will be visible from the North Shore and both our major harbour bridges. Conceived by a Los Angeles artist, multi-colored, constantly changing LED-displays will pulse up and down the entire elevation of the Shaw Tower, a public art-work that will be inaugurated this summer.
Ok, maybe his collection is good. But I'm not convinced it should be a bargaining chip -- maybe that's just me.
For another interesting Trevor Boddy article, see [url=http://www.canadianarchitect.com/issues/ISArticle.asp?story_id=164578120900&issue=08012006&PC=:06b93]Downtown's Last Resort[/url:06b93], which also mentions Westbank/ Gillespie in passing. The article is about Vancouver's residential-vs.-office focus. Boddy is brutal in his crit:
...the glib promotion of postmodern urbanism and economics by our city builders, validating lifestyle before the creation of wealth, pumping the visual markers of the "Creative City" over the more difficult and important investments in affordable housing and cultural institutions that would actually make a creative city happen. At a recent RAIC panel on urbanism, Calgary architect Marc Boutin described the new downtown Vancouverites as totally immersed in this promotional oversell, lost souls trying to find themselves through the self-congratulatory latte-and-rollerblade lifestyle they have bought into.
(Marc Boutin is the guy who was on CBC recently with Josh White from Skyscraperpage.com and Druh ..., Calgary alderwoman -- interesting show, there's an audio link to it on SSP, Western Region section.)
Then there's this 2005 article from Toronto, about how there's no design panel in T.O., and that that's why they build ugly residential buildings: [url=http://www.toronto.ca/planning/article_starlessons_paradise4.htm:06b93]The price to put up paradise; Developer agrees to $12.5 million deal[/url:06b93]. Since we're on the "land lift" learning curve, get this bit:
In most cases, the city is looking to receive 50-70 per cent of the "land-value lift" - the amount a property's worth increases because of the added density, regardless of the building atop it. The form of payment is up for discussion - public art, child care centres, or money.
The son of two environmentalists, Gillespie liked the idea of planting 57,000 trees in a B.C. forest to compensate for carbon emissions during construction. And he loved the idea of working with the Vancouver Art Gallery on an outdoor sculpture garden. Then came a $4.8-million restoration of an adjacent heritage church and a $1 million donation to affordable housing - all on top of $4 million in regular development levies.
In the end, he signed a $12.5 million package - 91 per cent of the expected land-value lift. "That's the best one we got," says Beasley. "We're very, very proud of that."
So, 91% of "land lift" was (in 05) the most Vancouver had ever gotten out of a developer, according to this article, and it was for Westbank's Shangri-La. This article suggests that in most cases, Vancouver manages to extract between 50-70%.
Incidentally, where are you all coming up with this $500+ figure for the square foot cost? Are you just dividing the $14M by the square footage for the gallery? Is that really accurate? We don't know whether the $14M is for just the space there, or whether it includes other things. Also, the article mentions 25,000 sq.ft. for "exhibition space" -- don't know if that's totally accurate, but if it is, then there must be another huge chunk of square footage for storage, behind the scenes stuff, etc. Plus, the $14M could include renos to the old art gallery, to retrofit it for additional storage (or take things out of storage), get a better Emily Carr gallery installed, etc.
Is there going to be more detail in Committee of the Whole minutes? Heiman's article is based on Shirley Madill's presentation to council on March 1. It would be great to see if there're additonal bits to go on when the minutes come out.