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first_imgAs developer Ryan Hurley walked through his latest downtown Vancouver acquisition on a recent July morning, he spoke of a vision beyond the gutted former home of Sparks Home Furnishings.“This building has great bones,” he said, while workers in hard hats yanked aging insulation from the rafters and dropped it in dirty mounds on the naked concrete below. “It’s pedestrian friendly; the new library has given us a connection to the park. This area of downtown used to be dingy. We want it to come alive.”Halfway through its remodeling project, the 40,000-square-foot store that for more than 50 years sold loveseats, patio sets and armoires has been stripped of its finishing and fixtures. Dimly lit, it looks closer to “dingy” than “alive.”But those who’ve watched Hurley remodel four previous downtown buildings in less than five years say they have faith in the vision he’s bringing to the city block between Broadway and C Street along Evergreen Boulevard.“There’s been a huge change downtown in the past five years. People are excited to be here,” said Lee Rafferty, executive director of Vancouver’s Downtown Association. “Ryan Hurley has been one of the biggest forces behind that change.”last_img read more