Thomas is passionate about transforming real estate for the benefit of community. He first became involved with the 312 Main Project after meeting Bob Williams, longtime Vancity Credit Union Director, in a UBC Architecture class, which was taught by former Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan. As the capstone for his Master’s in Urban Planning degree, Thomas helped to complete initial planning and analysis for 312 Main, when the idea was first born. Although he is driven by numbers and sound financial analysis, the root of his professional mission is to make cities more beautiful, whimsical, and intimate places. Thomas developed his sense of space and curiosity to look beyond the blemished while working with landscape architect Michael Luco at his storefront, Earthrise – a community shop from a bygone era. Thomas went west from Guelph, Ontario, where he completed his Bachelor of Commerce in Real Estate and Housing. There, he helped to establish the Downtown Guelph Residents Association, as well as a Downtown Façade Improvement Program. Currently, Thomas is completing the Accredited Appraiser Canadian Institute destination at UBC in order to better understand the drivers of real estate value, the distribution of new value created by rezoning and public infrastructure investment, and the connection of real estate value to long term community health and resilience.
312 Main was Vancouver’s former police department headquarters, a municipal court, and jail. The new vision for 312 Main is for this heritage building to be transformed into a beacon for social and economic democracy, empowering the precariat to thrive, by nourishing entrepreneurial spirit through the arts, and linking groups who might otherwise work in isolation. The ground floor of 312 Main is an inclusive community space that will host a variety of artistic and indigenous exhibitions and events. The centrepiece of the ground floor is a Coast Salish inspired longhouse gathering space for up to 350 persons, designed by indigenous architect, Nancy Mackin. The basement area is a 10,000 sq ft studio space for creative work including the fine arts, music & radio, digital media, sewing, leather work, crafts, prototyping and 3D printing.
312 Main seeks to address the challenging faced by: SDG #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG #9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; and SDG #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.