From Vancouver City Hall to Bryan Adams’ Recording Studio: repurposing old buildings

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Powell and Columbia Streets
Oppenheimer Bros Wholesale Grocers building 1898

From “A Century of Entertainment,” a chapter in Sensational Vancouver:

Bryan Adams has collected a ton of hardware over the years, but the one I find the most interesting is the City of Vancouver Heritage Award he was given in 1998 for transforming a derelict Gastown warehouse into a world class recording studio.

Bryan AdamsWhen Adams bought the brick building at the corner of Powell and Columbia Streets in 1991 it was abandoned and abused. Likely it would have gone the way of other historical Gastown buildings if he hadn’t seen its potential.

The building restoration took seven years and cost $5 million including the purchase price. The three-storey building has large windows to let in lots of natural light, a massive main studio on the second floor and a mixing suite on the third floor.

“I always leaned toward having a studio in an eccentric neighborhood,” Adams told Mix. “It reminds me a little of New York.”

The Victorian-style warehouse is the oldest brick building in the city. Built by David Oppenheimer, a German immigrant and Vancouver’s second Mayor (1888-1891) the building survived the Great Fire of 1886 and served as the Oppenheimer Brother’s growing wholesale grocery business.

The warehouse also served as Vancouver City Hall while Oppenheimer was mayor.

Today it hosts bands and rock stars that include AC/DC, Elton John, Bon Jovie, Tragically Hip, Metallica and Michael Bublé.

100 Powell Street

© All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content copyright Eve Lazarus. 

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  1. Only the cellar was in place during the Great Fire and several people took refuge in it during their escape – but not for long!

  2. Hi I heard that Alvin Lapp was recording at the Bryan Adams studio on June 5th 2014
    I wonder if you could find out who he was recording with?

  3. Hello I am looking to send a message to Bryan Adams and not sure how to send it to him my name is wo officer Jean Marc Grenier my beautiful wife of 25 year this year. A very special year as my wife and I are traveling to Dublin Ireland from Halifax NSto enjoy special night together .My wife is a huge huge fan of Mr Adams .She has always wanted to meet her idol iShe has followed him for 30 year ownes every cd has gone to see him about 15 times ! Is there any way that my wife could go back stage and say hello to him is that even a possible.My wife is such a hard worker we have 3 beautiful children.and she works at the the women’s and children hospital . We are also a foster family for 11 years .I would love to give this to my wife whom I love so very much if ou can help me that would be so awesome thank you

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