Music rehearsal space to replace Vancouver "gem" Woods Studio at proposed rental tower

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      On May 28 last year, The Woods Studio announced that it was “time to say goodbye”.

      The Vancouver community space for local musicians used to occupy an industrial-zone location in Mount Pleasant at the southern edge of the Olympic Village.

      The site is now planned for redevelopment with an 18-storey rental tower and commercial space on the ground floor.

      In a social media post, The Woods Studio stated that “this past decade has been dreamy”.

      It said “thank you to the community who supported The Woods Studio all these years and kept the space a gem in our city”.

      Moreover, “we’re honoured to have crossed paths with every performer, artist, show goer & friend who stepped foot up those rickety piano steps”.

      The Woods Studio's previous address was 7 West 2nd Avenue.

      The space is part of 5-15 West 2nd Avenue and 1751 Ontario Street, which houses a two-storey building with an auto repair shop.

      MA + HG Architects has filed an application to rezone the site on behalf of property owner Mohinder Singh Sandhu.

      The proposed 18-storey mixed-use building will contain 122 rental units, of which 20 percent will be secured as below-market rentals.

      The proposed commercial space on the street will include a music rehearsal space.

      Yardley McNeill, assistant director with the City of Vancouver’s rezoning centre, prepared a report to council about the rezoning application, and a portion of the document deals with the new music space.

      McNeill related that The Woods Studio was a “privately managed, 186 sq. m (2,000 sq. ft.) community-based music studio, additionally an unsanctioned, approximately 251 sq. m (2,700 sq. ft.) music rehearsal space is located in the basement of the building”.

      “The studio supported 60-80 musicians for music creation, collaboration, and rehearsal,” the city planner wrote.

      Also, “There is no opportunity to acquire dedicated replacement space for the music studio through the rezoning given the below-market rental housing public benefit offer.”

      However, “Recognizing the importance of the existing space to the city’s music sector, the applicant has proposed a commercial unit that would be constructed to function as a music rehearsal space, including adequate acoustic controls.”

      In particular, “The 75 sq. m (817 sq. ft.) space would be privately-owned and can be leased to a nonor for-profit music organization.”

      Also, “The applicant would be required to consult with the musicians and artists in the current music space should they have interest in continuing cultural and music activities on the site.”

      MA+HG Architects rendering of the proposed 18-storey-mixed use development at 5-15 West 2nd  Avenue and 1751 Ontario Street.

      A search online shows that The Woods Studio was managed by Shay Hayashi of the music duo Phono Pony.

      In a previous interview with Tom Tom Mag, Hayashi was asked about the most unusual or funny thing that happened to her at a gig.

      Hayashi replied by relating an incident at The Woods Studio.

      “The room broke into a cake fight. It was actually a gig hosted at my music studio (The Woods Studio). A few friends in the other bands had birthdays that night. In good spirit we decided to have entry by donation or…cake. We were running out of room to put the cakes by the end of the night. As soon as the first piece got thrown, there was no stopping it. Everyone left covered in birthday flavor and it luckily started to pour rain outside. Months later, I am still finding traces of icing in odd places around the studio. It was the first, only, best and last cake fight The Woods Studio will ever have…and it was one for the books.”

      The Straight sought comment through a published contact detail of The Woods Studio about possible future plans, and has yet to hear back as of this post.

      Meanwhile, the rezoning application for 5-15 West 2nd Avenue and 1751 Ontario Street is included in the public hearing agenda of council on Thursday (April 14). 

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