Open House: Hastings-Sunrise

Property: L’Atelier building at 2556 East Hastings Street . The building looks unimpressive with its collection of shops with lit signs at ground level. But the interior of the 1940s building that was transformed into live/work lofts in 1995 by Merrick Architecture is a revelation. Diane King bought a second-floor loft in the building as an investment property in 2006.

“I'd heard about this building on East Hastings and like most Vancouverites — I was born and raised in Vancouver — it was like East Hastings, oh my gosh,” said the opera singer and head of the voice department at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music. “But when I actually saw the building, it was just so amazing,” she said. “The hallways are really, really wide and they have glass block floors and ceilings and so it’s like a solarium outside my door. I have hibiscus and bougainvillea and cacti and succulents. People are growing tomatoes and things in their hallways... plus there's a big rooftop deck.”

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King has become a booster for the area with its Italian delis, an array of restaurants and Donald’s Market just steps from her door.

“It's really a spillover now from Commercial Drive in terms of attracting your hipster population and then lots of young families with kids,” King said. “It's just a really, really vibrant, wonderful neighbourhood, much more interesting than Kits, which is a terrible thing to say.”

She bought a third-floor loft in 2008 from a painter and a potter, and now she and her husband are selling it to buy a house. “The day of the hippie-artist-painter-potter is dying, unfortunately or fortunately,” she said. “That's life in Vancouver , isn’t it.” 

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