Richmond Caring Place

Case Studies / Space profiles

Richmond Caring Place

Space Profile 

  • Name of Space: Richmond Caring Place
  • Mission: “We provide an efficiently and accountably managed multi-use building for the benefit of social agencies in delivering services and enhancing quality of life and effecting positive change.”
  • Owner - Land: City of Richmond
  • Owner – Building/Improvements: Richmond Caring Place Society
  • Tenants: Alzheimer Society of BC, Canadian Hemochromatosis Society, BC Centre for Ability, Chimo Community Services, Family Services of Greater Vancouver, Richmond Care Richmond Gives, Richmond Community Foundation, Richmond Multicultural Community Services, Richmond Society for Community Living, Richmond Women’s Resource Centre Association, S.U.C.C.E.S.S., Turning Point Recovery Society
  • Rent/Lease/Own: Land is leased, with Building/Improvements owned by Richmond Caring Place Society
  • Address: 7000 Minoru Blvd, Richmond, BC, V6Y 3Z5
  • Square Footage: 35,000 sq/ft
  • Year Opened: 1994
  • Space/Facility Type: Office, Multi-Functional, Community Facility, Co-work/shared space
  • Organizational Type: Registered Charity
  • Space/Facility Use: Community/Social Services, Advocacy/Service Organization, Healthcare, Space Provider/Developer
  • Programs/Services Delivered: Richmond Caring Place provides co-locating space for 12 not for profit organizations in which to fulfill their individual social service mandate and deliver programs and services.
  • Website:

Case Study

Concept & Need
Partnerships & People
Timeline & Steps to Realization
Funding & Financing
Operations & Tenanting
Impact & Lessons Learned



Richmond Caring Place (Caring Place) is a 35,000 sq/ft space that has supported dozens of non-profit and mission-based organizations under one roof since it opened its doors in 1994. The simplicity of Richmond Caring Place’s purpose has allowed this multi-tenant space to thrive as a hub for the streamlined delivery of many social services. The Caring Place was built to house non-profit social service agencies. Currently, Caring Place supports 12 non-profits by overseeing the operational and administrative responsibilities of a building, enabling organizations to focus on the delivery of their programs and services.  A legacy of experienced Board Members continues to drive the Caring Place to emphasize the provision of a well-managed and maintained building offering security of tenure for non-profit organizations.


Concept & Need

“The idea for [Richmond Caring Place] dates back to 1962 when a group of Richmond agencies decided that a shared location would help them improve services. Several agencies had operated together in shared spaces but ultimately did not find a suitable and affordable space. In 1985, a group of concerned citizens formed the Richmond Community Services Centre Society (RCSCS) to work towards constructing a new building designed specifically for community programs.”[1] This new building would be the means to which RCSCS could realize it’s vision, “to maintain, manage and expand a superior affordable facility to assist as many social agencies as possible in delivering services and enhancing quality of life in the City of Richmond.”[2]

The lived experience of a person walking into Richmond Caring Place was conceived over three decades ago and continues to be fundamental to the feel and approachability of the space today. An article from the Caring Place News in 1991, envisions how people will know that there is one central location where they can find support in a caring atmosphere, with a range of services from family counselling to health promotion, suicide prevention, and English language training for new Canadians.[3]  One of the beauties of the Caring Place building today is that anyone can walk in there for any reason and be anonymous. The value in having a space where users can feel anonymous contributes to removing stigmas.

“Richmond Caring Place Society’s main goal is the operation of the building—to alleviate [from] tenant [responsibility] whether the parking lot needs to be paved, whether the windows need to be replaced. We focus on the maintenance of the space but also the activation of the space.”  Belinda Boyd – former Chair of the Richmond Caring Place Society Board.


Partnerships & People

Partnerships were key to bringing the vision of the Richmond Caring Place to life and were a result of bringing together community champions with decades of professional experience in Richmond. The Campaign Executive Committee, responsible for the fundraising that financed much of the project, were a group of experienced and influential people in the Richmond community. The Campaign Executive Committee included: Hugo Eppich (Honorary Chair), Malcolm Brodie (current Mayor of Richmond), Irene Frith, Jack Hurst, J. Kirk Lawrie, Gordon D. Leversage, John Nixon, David B. Price, Patsy Hui, and Dr. Tony Yurkovich. John G. McIntyre, as Campaign Chairman, recruited this committee, bringing together a community of change makers who were dedicated to realizing the vision of a Caring Place.

 “[The people on both the Campaign Executive Committee and RCSCS Board] were real stalwarts and mover and shakers in the community who had insight into the [community need for the Caring Place] and also had the connections and affiliations to bring that vision to fruition.” Belinda Boyd – former Chair of the Richmond Caring Place Society Board

 “The Makeup of the board was key - expertise in building maintenance, operations and management, somebody from legal, as well as accounting backgrounds. The Board membership is focused on skills to support the maintenance and activation of the building so that tenants can focus on what is important to the needs of the community.”    Belinda Boyd – former Chair of the Richmond Caring Place Society Board

The Richmond Community Services Centre Society Board of Directors included: Louise Young (Chair), Bill Diston, Gordon Leversage, Mary Suen, Carol Biely, Eugene Boyko, Elizabeth Buchanan, Barbara High, Cheryl Meyers, Allan E. Warnke.

The project architect was IB G. Hansen, Architect Ltd and community support for the campaign included the Richmond Review (included the Caring Place Campaign newsletter in the paper), Pacific Post Productions (produced a video for the Campaign), Rogers Cable T.V. Ltd, (donated air time for the campaign video), and Richmond Savings Credit Union (now Coast Capital, which opened accounts at each branch to receive donations).[4] 


Timeline & Steps to Realization 

Richmond Caring Place project was steered by a Campaign Executive Committee and the RCSCS Board, who collectively launched the Caring Place Campaign in January 1990.  The commitment and dedication of both groups helped raise the level of community readiness and acceptance for the space and were a significant underpinning to the RCP fundraising program. 

RCP benefitted from availability of City owned land and a corresponding agreement with the City of Richmond to lease that land. This land and agreement played a major role in project realization—without the land lease[5], the fundraising campaign would have likely been a protracted process. The land lease was also the impetus for the multiple, significant private donations, as it demonstrated support by the City of Richmond of the need and viability of the project.  A notable, private donation of $1,000,000 came from the late Milan Illich, a philanthropist in the Richmond community, representing a significant portion of the original capital campaign goal of $5,000,000. 

The RSCSC’s ability to open the Richmond Caring Place debt free is one of the reasons why the continued operation and maintenance of the space has been according to RCP, “relatively easy”. The absence of a mortgage or tax implications[6] has enabled RSCSC to focus revenue on creating a beautiful, impactful space for both users and service providers.
Event – Richmond Caring Place
Photo Credit: Richmond Caring Place Society


Richmond Caring Place – Timeline

Community Engagement: 1985
Building Committee Formation: 1989
Project Budget: 1990
Caring Place Campaign Launch: 1990
City of Richmond Land Lease Agreement: 1991
Conceptual Design[7]: 1991
Construction/Renovation: 1992
Move-In: 1994


Funding & Financing

  • $1,500,000 – Land (In-kind contribution by City of Richmond)
  • $1,650,000 – Capital Campaign
  • $1,000,000 – Private Donation
  • $750,000 – City of Richmond (cash contribution)
  • $300,000 – City of Richmond (development cost waivers)
  • $5,200,000 – Total Revenue

  • $1,500,000 – Land (In-kind contribution by City of Richmond)
  • $3,700,000 – Hard and Soft Construction Costs[8]
  • $5,200,000 – Total Expenses


Operations & Tenanting

The Board of Richmond Caring Place and the Administrative Manager oversee the ongoing success of Richmond Caring Place. 

“Operationally, RCP sought to provide a long term financial security to the tenants with a 2-year rolling budget that allows them to project future costs. [Long term recapitalization] was supported through the Board’s efforts in 2010 to complete an audit providing projections on the number of years before major parts of the building such as the roof or HVAC system would need to be replaced.” Belinda Boyd – former Chair of the Richmond Caring Place Society Board.

Anticipating costs is essential for the Board to understand the long-term financial viability of Richmond Caring Place and to respond accordingly.  Today, the land lease agreement with the City of Richmond is still advantageous to the Caring Place—as City land, Richmond has the ability to waive property taxes each year.[9]  

An ongoing source of operating income for RCP is the on-site parking. IMPARK manages the parking lot, charging a flat fee per month to maintain the lot. If revenue from the lot exceeds the monthly fee, IMPARK writes Richmond Caring Place a cheque and if revenue from the lot is less than the monthly fee, IMPARK waives the deficit. The contract with IMPARK was negotiated by Caring Place.

The Administrative Manager ensures the facility remains efficient, up to date and responsive to the needs of the service providers that tenant the space. Through the Administrative Manager, Richmond Caring Place’s tenants are kept informed of the decisions by the Board. The visibility of the Administrative Manager who in addition to daily contact with tenants conducts quarterly walk-throughs, ensures that tenants can share any issue about the space as soon as possible, and also creates an environment where the maintenance of the building is viewed as priority.  The success of the RCP has even provided rebates to tenants in years where operating expenses and general maintenance have come in under budget.

Tenant spaces range from 400 to 5000 sq./ft. at $18.25 per sq./ft. which includes utilities; all leases are two years long which allows the Board some flexibility in budgeting if there is an unanticipated cost.

Interior – Richmond Caring Place
Photo Credit: Larry Scherban

 “[When we first began] we created selection criteria for interested [prospective] tenants. It is a rating system that is completed by Richmond Caring Place’s [Board]–applied to determine who has the best score. We then send out an expression of interest to potential tenants based on their submission.” Sandy McIntosh – Administrative Manager, Richmond Caring Place


If there's change in tenants, we want to maintain the same synergy.  We do not want 10 tenants that do the same thing [nor do we want] one or two big tenants to consume the whole building so […each new tenant is evaluated] case by case with our Board.” 

Sandy McIntosh – Administrative Manager, Richmond Caring Place



Impacts & Lessons Learned

The key to the success of Richmond Caring Place has been the operating model where tenants are not pre-occupied with the maintenance and administrative responsibilities of managing a building. That service providers and non-profit organizations do not have to use time to find or manage space, enables them to focus their creativity and abilities into strategic thinking and delivering programs for the purposes of their agency’s work.

In terms of the design of the building—there have been both successes and challenges. The architect, IB G. Hansen, incorporated a lot of tenant input into the conceptual and final drawings which was an appreciated process for tenants. However, maintenance and infrastructure updates are challenging due to the buildings many curved walls. The lack of square edges has proved difficult for laying new carpet, upgrading new venetian blinds, or even placing a rectangular desk against a curved wall in an office. Feedback on the building design has been shared with other organizations looking to replicate Richmond Caring Place. Ultimately substantive input from prospective tenants and facilities managers on design is a vital part of creating a successful and sustainable capital asset. 
One key takeaway for RCP Board was when they drafted the lease intended to articulate the working relationship with tenants. Initially, the lease was written so that operating expenses were shared but there was no explicit explanation about who was responsible for managing the wear and tear of the building. In the early days, one of the tenants challenged the Board for transferring some of the funds to maintenance. The tenant thought there was a misrepresentation and that the Board should only use operating expenses and not create a contingency fund. In the end, the Board rewrote part of the lease to state that Board had the right to build up a contingency fund in order to mitigate any unanticipated costs to the maintenance and/or operation of the building.
Richmond Caring Place’s advice to organizations considering similar initiative would be to look closely at governance models and consider that of RCP, where the goal is to facilitate the operations of a space/facility for multiple organizations. This strategy has been key to both longevity and retention of tenants. A stable space where there is no threat to the security of tenure supports organizations to work towards their long-term goals.
Additionally, as the Board looks to expand on the success of Caring Place by possibly creating a second facility, the importance of maintaining some sort of ongoing involvement in fundraising even when not actively raising capital, is critical. The length of time that has elapsed between developing the Caring Place, and a potential second facility has proved challenging for creating momentum to raise new capital. By keeping funding relationships alive, an organization is able maintain a mechanism for financing future projects.
© 2018 Social Purpose Real Estate Collaborative. Portions of this Case Study may be reproduced for research and educational purposes. Please credit: “Social Purpose Real Estate Collaborative”  

SPRE Case Study Interviewees: 

  • Sandy McIntosh, Administrative Manager. Interviewed: August 9, 2017
  • Belinda Boyd, former Chair of the Richmond Caring Place Society Board. Interviewed: August 14, 2017


Works Cited





134The Caring Place News (1991). An Update on the Campaign to Build a Community Services Centre in Richmond. Richmond Review - Special Edition.  
2. Richmond Caring Place Society (2015). About Us. 
5. The Land Lease is for 60 years at a nominal fee of $10
6. The City of Richmond exempts the Richmond Caring Place Society from property taxes.
7. The architect is IB G. Hansen, Architect Ltd.
8. Hard construction costs include all building costs, on and offsite servicing, parking and improvements, contingency, etc. Soft construction costs include architect and engineer fees, legal fees, surveying, insurance, municipal fees, etc.
9. Property taxes are $170,000 per year and waived each year. This expense amounts to over a third of the Caring Place's annual operating budget.