WHAT IS A BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT AREA (BIA)?
Business Improvement Area (BIA) organizations are not-for-profit associations that promote the shared interests of commercial property owners and businesses located within the neighbourhood boundaries. These associations support the area by developing programs in marketing, promotions, street enhancement, safety & security, event planning, and business development. Each BIA organization is managed by a Board of Directors that governs the decision-making and sets the priorities for the organization.
Gastown is Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, officially incorporated as the City of Vancouver in 1886. The Gastown Business Improvement Area covers the commercial and retail district running North South along Cordova Street and Water Street and East-West between Richards and Columbia Street. The area is an expression of both the city’s cultural heritage and of the social fabric that is Vancouver. Gastown is enriched with 100 commercial buildings and approximately 550 businesses including cutting edge galleries, award wining restaurants, independent fashion boutiques, and new media companies. As Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, Gastown is known for its well preserved historic buildings. Almost every building in the BIA has heritage designation. Gastown was designated a National Historic Site in 2009.