1654 is a 21,515ft² industrial property with 25 artist studios ranging from 170 to 1,850 square feet.  The tenant community includes non-profit cultural organizations, small businesses, and an intergenerational mix of artists. The building is used for a variety of material practices including ceramicists, painters, filmmakers, designers and fabricators. Prior to 221A’s occupancy in 2015, the building was used by Bombast Furniture, where it produced furniture for two decades.

Key Features

Studio of artist Kate Metten, photo courtesy Sungpil Yoon

  • 26 studio units over three floors
  • 12-month sublease term
  • 24-hour access
  • Fibre Internet Wifi
  • Artist community (approx 70+ occupants)
  • Operated by non-profit cultural space provider
  • Common areas:
    • Loading bays
    • Kitchen
    • Bathroom x 6
    • Utility Sink
    • Shared Parking x 8

Eligibility & Accessibility

Eligibility criteria for the artist studios are as follows:

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

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 Tenancy Relations Coordinator to arrange application assistance at spyoon@221a.ca

Building Accessibility

Unfortunately, 1654 Franklin Street is not wheelchair accessible.

Studio Information

The 26 studio units at 1654 Franklin Street

  • Range from 170 to 1,850 sq.ft. space
  • 8.5’ to 12.5’ ceiling height
  • Skylight (not applicable to all studios)
  • Located on the lower, upper and mezzanine level
  • Front (Franklin Street) and alley entrance
  • Loading bays (basement and ground floor)
  • Parking at rear (8 stalls, non-designated)
  • 6 washrooms
  • Shared Telus PureFiber internet

Rents and general terms

  • Rental rate is based on factors such as square footage, condition and features of the space.
  • 12-month sublease term
  • One-month security deposit
  • Tenants are expected to follow 221A’s hazardous materials policy
  • Sub-tenants are required to carry $5M liability insurance. 221A has made arrangements with The Cooperators to provide an opt-in program of insurance certificates specific to the building at a reduced price, approx. $300 per year. Those who do not opt-in will be expected to provide proof of insurance.
  • Included in rent: BC hydro, Fortis gas, water and sewage, shared Telus PureFiber internet, property taxes, waste/recycling, cleaning services (common areas), maintenance, tenancy arrangements, 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. Studio availability is subject to vacancies. Inquire above for up-to-date studio availability.

TypeUnitsUnique FeaturesUnit Area(sqft)Prop. Common Area(sqft)Total Rentable Area(sqft)Rental Rate Per Foot (2021-22)
D, E7Lower level, most with windows699–1,850222-586921-2,4361.60–1.65
C5Upper level, no window, 8’ ceilings217–35069-111286-4611.90
B4Mezzanine level, windows270–29386-93356-3862.25
A10Upper level, high ceilings, skylight170–1,12454-356224-1,4802.40


1- Who is an Artist?

An “Artist” is someone who has developed skills through training (not necessarily in an academic institution) or practice in any creative discipline, is recognized by Artists working in the same artistic tradition, has a history of public presentation or publication, seeks payment for their work, and actively practices their art. 221A uses the term Artist in a broad sense, encompassing a variety of historical and unrecognized types of practices. Examples of types of Artists may be painters, sculptors, writers, editors, cultural and language workers, designers, graphic designers, typographers, industrial designers, illustrators, video game designers, filmmakers, ceramicists, performance Artists, dramaturgs, choreographers, dancers.

2- How are tenants selected?

Where there are multiple competing submissions, completed applications will be ranked by staff or a selection committee based on:

  • Alignment with vision and values
  • Artistic practice and impact on career, and 
  • Impact on field and community. 

Additional information may be requested by the staff to support ranking of the applicants. 

3- What types of artistic practice are suitable at 1654?

1654 Franklin St. accommodates many different kinds of practices. During the tenant screening process we will inquire with the applicant what materials are involved in the making of their practice, especially concerning scent and noise levels pertaining to tool use and general foot traffic within the space. 221A provides the applicant with a Hazardous Materials Policy Manual as part of the on-boarding process, to declare any potential toxic materials used in their practice so that we can make recommendations for proper disposal and safety measures.

4- How is rent determined on studio spaces?

Subtenant rental rates are established on an annual basis through 221A’s Annual Budget through the principles of “cost-recovery”. Cost recovery principles take the total cost of each Service premise, including: rent, property taxes, utilities, maintenance, waste management, insurance, and other operating costs, as well as reasonable management costs, and taking into account any forms of government or private revenues or subsidies otherwise received that together are used as the basis to determine rental rates. 

5- How do I pay rent?

Subtenants enter into a Pre-Authorized Debit Agreement with 221A, which allows 221A to withdraw monthly rent payments directly from Subtenants’ bank accounts. 

6- Can I use my own insurance provider instead of opting for the one provided by 221A?

Yes, as long as you can provide proof to 221A that your Insurance Policy meets the requirements set out in the Head Lease for the property. Contact 221A staff for more details.  

7- Can I sublet my space?

The sublease holder is expected to communicate with 221A concerning any sublet arrangements with an advanced notice (minimum one-month notice). An approval process must be met prior to any confirmation of a sublet.

8- What happens to my security deposit when my sublease is finished?

The sublease holder is entitled to have the security deposit returned if the condition of the studio is returned to its original condition when it was first subleased, with the exception of general wear & tear. In the case that it is not returned to its original condition, a deduction from the deposit will be made based on the materials and labour required to return the space to its condition deemed satisfactory for the next sublease.

9- Are pets allowed in the studio building?

Personal guide animals are permitted, with pets being considered on a case-by-case basis. If approved, we ask that the animal be under supervision at all times.


For inquiries please complete the Sublease Inquiry & Tour Request form below or for general questions you may email Tenancy Relations Coordinator at Sungpil Yoon at spyoon@221a.ca

Sublease Inquiry & Tour Requests

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 studio space only.