222

222

222 is a 8,000ft² property leased from the Yee Fung Toy Society of Canada, a Chinese benevolent association established in 1904. Since 2011, the 222 E Georgia St property has been used by 221A as a space for collective art production and presentation.

YeeFung
222 E Georgia Street

Current vacancies

222 Unit 204

222 Unit 107

222 Unit 101

Key Features

  • Located in pedestrian-friendly Chinatown and close to public transit
  • Key access through lane entryway
  • 12 units for individual artists or non-profit offices (main and upper floor)
  • Semi-enclosed or fully-enclosed units
  • Ceiling heights ranging from 8–10’
  • Monthly rents range from $303 to $1,796
  • Unit sizes range from 130 to 611 square feet
  • Two bathrooms and shared kitchenette
  • Shared washout sink with sediment trap

Eligibility for Studios

Individuals must: 

  • self-identify as an Artist;
  • be the age of majority;
  • be living in BC; 
  • intend on using the premises in a manner that is compatible with facility purposes and capacity

Small cultural nonprofits or businesses must:

  • operate a genuine arts and cultural non-profit organization or small cultural business in BC; and
  • intend on using the premises in a manner that is compatible with facility purposes and capacity

Unit Information

The 12 units at 222 E Georgia include:

  • Key access through lane entryway
  • Semi-enclosed and fully-enclosed units 
  • Ceiling heights ranging from 8–10’
  • Monthly rents range from $303 to $1,796
  • Unit sizes range from 130 to 611 square feet
  • Two bathrooms and shared kitchenette
  • Shared washout sink with sediment trap

Building Amenities

  • Washout Sink
  • Lunch Area lunch area that includes seating, cabinetry, a kettle, microwave and shared fridge on the ground floor
  • Bathrooms – two bathrooms
  • Shared WIFI
  • Waste Collection – shared garbage and recycling area

Accessibility

Unfortunately 222 is not wheelchair accessible.

Rents and General Terms

  • Rental rate is based on factors such as square footage, condition and features of the space.
  • Units are subleased on a 1-year term and may be longer on a case-by-case basis
  • A one-month security deposit is required
  • Tenants must follow 221A’s hazardous materials policy
  • Included in rent: BC hydro, Fortis gas, water and sewage, shared Telus internet, headlease rent, property taxes, waste/recycling, cleaning services (common areas), interior and exterior building maintenance, tenancy arrangements, and administration
  • No GST on rent as 221A is a registered Canadian charitable organization and is exempt from collecting GST on real property. 

Unit Types

The following table is for illustrative purposes only. Inquire above for up-to-date studio availability.

Unit TypeNo, of UnitsQuality FeaturesUnit Square FootageCommon Area*Monthly Rental Rate*
A, B, or C6Windows, natural light (skylight)142 to 61128%$359 to $1,796
D, G6Artificial lighting, 8–10' ceilings130 to 46828%$303 to $807
*Proportionate common area is calculated using BOMA 2017 standards, which includes the building circulation, common amenities and service areas, minus rentable exclusions such as: rented storage areas, staircases, elevator, and other major vertical penetrations. Total rentable area includes both unit square footage and proportionate common areas.  **Monthly rental rate is the gross rental rates. As opposed to a net or triple net lease, where a tenant pays "additional rent" to cover operating costs and taxes, a gross lease is where the tenant pays rent to the landlord as a gross amount and is not required to pay additional rent to the landlord to cover expenses related to the leased premises.

Founded in 1991, Access Gallery is an independent artist-run centre with a mission to create conditions of emergence for provocative ideas and work in the visual arts. Access Gallery is a non-profit organization and anchor tenant of the 222 E Georgia since 2011. The gallery focuses on enabling critical conversations and risk taking through new configurations of artists, audience, and community. Please note that Access Gallery is not operated by 221A, please contact the gallery directly for any questions. For more information please visit https://accessgallery.ca.

Screenshot-2023-01-31-at-11.28.45-AM-1064x800-1
Photo of work by Anna Binta Diallo. Courtesy of Rachel Topham Photography and Access Gallery.

History of 221A at 222

222 is a storefront space and two-storey annex building used as a non-profit art gallery and artist studios. The unit is part of a larger mixed-use building at 224 E Georgia Street, owned by the longstanding non-profit Chinese Benevolent Association Yee Fung Toy Society of Canada. The Yees operate their Vancouver chapter and Canadian headquarters out of the building in the adjacent storefront unit at 226 E Georgia Street, where one can also hear the sounds of mahjong tiles clacking on a daily basis until late in the evening. The second and third floors are managed by the Yees as 12 units of low-income housing. Some residential tenants have been in the building for over four decades.

Now used as a non-profit art gallery and artist studios, the 222 E Georgia space was formerly leased by a small appliances wholesaler specializing in rice cookers and kitchen supplies called Universe Houseware Appliances. 221A has also learned that for a very long period, the space was used by Starboard Pant Factory, a business that manufactured and sold french-cut jeans on site.

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As part of 221A's initial occupancy of the facility in 2011, the organization was required to resolve a range of fire-safety concerns. Aside from a microfiche dated to the 1940s, the City archives had very little in the way of regulatory drawings on file. Since 221A was (at that time) operated exclusively by volunteers, it took over 70 volunteers to complete the first phase of renovations — brought together through a spirit of trust and friendship.

Further into its leasehold tenure, 221A was able to receive more substantive capital grants from three levels of government to support upgrades to the facility, including: an expanded and upgraded sprinkler system, fire-rated exit corridors, improved stairwells and structural laminations. The upgrades required 221A to navigate opaque zoning and building regulation while shouldering attendant financial risks.

The capital grants allowed 221A to undertake various costly fire-safety upgrades without impacting overall rental rates, which would have made the space untenable. Typically, changes to older buildings are only feasible for business-savvy landlords who are able to increase rental rates or who place the onus on businesses capable of charging higher rates for goods and services.

221A learned that safety upgrades are often 'not on the table' for Chinatown Family Clan associations like the Yees. Often, no capital reserve funds are in place as associations have prioritized lower overhead costs, creating savings that were passed on to their tenants, who often faced economic hardship during immigration. The deterioration of building conditions and the health of those who occupy them can make private development attractive, despite the well-understood impacts of gentrification. The ability to make critical upgrades through capital funds, despite the treacherous path of building repairs, can be crucial to mitigating the pace of development while allowing for a form of cultural renewal not premised on wholesale dispossession.

221A is inspired by the history of Chinatown and Chinese Benevolent Societies—one of blossoming culture despite the presence of intense racial discrimination—in thinking and planning the future of the neighbourhood. Despite the end of the 'heyday' of Chinatown, a long-standing principle of collective ownership is woven into the fabric of many of the Chinese Benevolent Societies.

Image: 221A Collection 2005-18 – A set of tableware purchased from Hon's Wun-Yun House before it closed in June 2017. The set includes 3 powder-blue plastic serving plates, a small pink plastic sauce dish, and a Yanjing brand beer glass.
222 E Georgia Street – Yee Fung Toy Society and Starboard Pant Factory.

Studio FAQ

How does 221A define who is an Artist?

How does 221A define who is a non-profit cultural organization?

How are tenants selected?

Do I get to choose which unit I want?

What if I would like a lease that is longer than 1 year?

How are the rental rates set?

How is rent collected?

What happens if a tenant is unable to pay their rent?

Am I allowed to make alterations to my unit?

Am I allowed to sublet my unit?

Who owns 221A?

How are decisions made about the building?

Does 221A make profit from the building?

Building FAQ

Are there residential or live-work units at 222?

What is included in the rent?

What is not included in the rent that tenants should expect to pay?

What are the operating hours of the building?

Can I have guests come to my studio?

What art practices are allowed?

Are pets allowed?

Is there bike and vehicle parking?

Is there a loading bay?

Sublease Inquiry

For sublease inquiries and tour requests, please fill out and submit the form below. We will get back to you shortly after we receive your submission.

Note that this form pertains to commercial studio spaces only.

Application Assistance

To ensure the participation of people living with disabilities, people who do not have access to specific technology, and/or people who otherwise require assistance, staff will offer telephone or in-person assistance for the completion of the following forms and documentation as well as to support participation in site tours and orientation. Please contact 221A’s Spaces Coordinator to arrange application assistance at spaces@221a.ca

Name(Required)
Which buildings have you toured, if any?
When do you need the space?
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