Art Space Action pulls out of Pantages development

by Jessica Werb on August 11, 2011, Georgia Straight

The Art Space Action Society has stated that they are not involved in the controversial Sequel 138 condo development project proposed for the former Pantages Theatre site. The development application for the project at 138 East Hastings said a Letter of Intent had been signed with ASA to purchase 2,500 square feet at a discount for use as an art space. The Straight later reported that the letter had been signed by David Duprey, ASA’s former executive director, who is no longer affiliated with ASA. In a statement, ASA’s board director Derek Simons said that letter was signed without the board’s knowledge. “The board of directors of Art Space Action, unaware of the letter of intent between David Duprey and Marc Williams, has decided in light of its mandate that they will not proceed with Sequel 138,” he said.

Williams, who owns the Pantages site, told the Straight that he is still committed to developing an art space in the project—which also includes 79 one-bedroom condos to be sold at $227,000 each, and 18 social-housing units.

“I think there was some confusion, and fortunately we got it all sorted out,” said Williams. “So they’re going to figure themselves out and what they’re going to do in the future, and we’re going to move ahead and find a great group to take over the space.… From an arts perspective, absolutely, we’re still going to move forward with it, and we just have to find the right match. We’ve got a couple of different groups that have actually come forward.”

While a number of DTES activists and arts organizations have opposed the project, DTES street artist Vince Dumoulin has come out in favour of the development. In a news release sent out by Sequel 138, Dumoulin, whose work includes the murals on Beatty Street opposite the Armouries and at East Hastings and Jackson.

“I want to live there myself,” said Dumoulin of the development. “I want Sequel 138 to become an international diving board for all artists.” Dumoulin said Williams had provided him with free studio space in one of his buildings, and that “he has quietly supported a lot of artists.”

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