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March 10, 2010
Salt Building To Become New Brew Pub for Mark James

During the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, a great deal of media ink was given to the various Olympic pavilions, yet inexplicably, little was said about an Olympics-related landmark building that may boast one of the oldest connections to our city's industrial past.

We're talking about Vancouver's venerable Salt Building, located at 85 West 1st Ave in the South False Creek neighbourhood. Perhaps the reason it was overlooked was due to the fact that during the Games, zealous security guards ensured that only competing Olympic athletes could wander anywhere near it.

Built before 1930 as a raw salt refining and processing plant, and then converted in the '80s into a paper recycling warehouse, the heritage building sat empty and derelict for several years. However in 2007, its owner, the City of Vancouver, appointed a consortium comprised of Citysphere Project Management, Acton Ostry Architects and Haebler Construction to renovate the building for use as a social lounge and gathering place for the athletes during the Winter Games.

It is still being used for that purpose today, although once the Paralympic Games are over, its transformation will continue into 2011, at which time it will house a restaurant, brewpub, coffee shop and bakery under the management of the Mark James Group (owners of the Yaletown Brew Pub, among other properties).

Currently, the 14,000 foot structure is still a shell, but its bare bones structure reveals many fascinating reminders of British Columbia's timber boom era. Placed on, what at the time, was the original shoreline of False Creek, it was built atop exposed timber piles; and its vast, open interior is supported by an elaborate and dramatic looking web of wooden roof trusses.

Acton Ostry has some very good photos on their website of the exterior and interior taken while the 2009 renos were in progress. ( See under Projects/Community/Salt Building .)

And be sure to check out this interesting video
outlining the Salt Building's historical significance to Vancouver.

(If video loads slowly from our server, cut and paste address above into your own browser).

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