01/30/2013 14:16 EST | Updated 04/01/2013 05:12 EDT

Move Vancouver Art Gallery to post office, says condo king

One of Vancouver's top real estate developers says the Vancouver Art Gallery should move to the recently sold downtown Canada Post building.

The so-called ‘condo king’ Bob Rennie told Rick Cluff, host of CBC Radio One’s The Early Edition, building a new art gallery isn't a good idea.

“I think a quick fix of, ‘Let's just build a $600 million museum,' without looking at it in its entirety is not what we should be doing in this economy,” he said.

Rennie says there are very few big city blocks downtown with redevelopment potential like the block at West Georgia and Homer streets where the post office sits.

He favours the idea expanding the Vancouver Art Gallery by creating smaller satellite spaces for art rather than moving the whole institution.

If Rennie had his way, the iconic front of the post office would be used to create a 60,000-square-foot gallery space, while the rest of the building would be used for retail and condos.

Rennie says the money saved by not building a new gallery should be put toward the art collection.

The Vancouver Art Gallery has said it is squeezed for space at its current location at West Georgia and Hornby, and is only able to show three per cent of its permanent collection at a time.

Vancouver Coun. Geoff Meggs threw his support behind the idea of moving the gallery to the post office building in 2011.

The gallery has requested that the Larwill Park property be considered as a site for a new facility. The site, two blocks east of the post office at the corner of Cambie and West Georgia streets, is currently a parking lot.

No decision on the request has been made. If it is granted, the gallery would have to start raising the funds needed for a new building.

Another unsolicited proposal from architect Tony Osborn involves demolishing the circular on-ramps at the north end of the Granville Bridge and building a new art gallery between Howe and Seymour streets.