Bob Rennie (born 1956) is a real estate marketer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the owner and founder of Rennie Marketing Systems, which is Vancouver's largest real estate marketing firm. He is known colloquially as the "condo king". Rennie is also involved in the art community in Vancouver and throughout North America, and maintains his own art museum in Chinatown’s Wing Sang building.
Bob Rennie was born in 1956 and raised in East Vancouver on East 5th. His mother was a homemaker and waitress, and his father a truck driver for Carling Brewery. Rennie started selling East Side homes at the age of 19. He began selling condos in Vancouver in 1990 with Dan Ulinder, forming Ulinder Rennie Project Marketing. In 1997 Rennie bought out Ulinder and established Rennie Marketing Systems.
Bob Rennie lives in Vancouver with his family, including his son Kris Rennie who is active in the Vancouver development scene.
He has marketed such projects as Fairmont Pacific Rim, Living Shangri-La (Vancouver’s tallest tower) and Vancouver's 2010 Olympic Village. Other projects include the Woodward's Building and One Wall Centre.
Rennie Collection, one of the largest collections of contemporary art in Canada, has evolved since 1972, when the first acquisition was made, to focus on works related to identity, social injustice, appropriation, painting and photography. The collection is dedicated not only to the acquisition of established international artists, but also the work of emerging artists. Currently there are approximately 40 artists collected in depth with about 200 artists in total. The collection, while based in Vancouver is usually spread across the globe, on loan to institutions like Guggenheim Museum New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Centre Georges Pompidou, Smithsonian and Tate, amongst many others.
Rennie chairs the North America Acquisitions Committee (NAAC) at Tate Museum in London,is a member of the Tate International Council and sits on the Dean's Advisory Board to the Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia (since 2006). In recognition of his dedication to the arts and the arts community, he received an honorary doctorate of letters from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2008, and was appointed to the university’s Board of Governors in 2009.
The Wing Sang Building
Rennie has a museum in Chinatown's Wing Sang building, the oldest (1889) building in Chinatown. Four years and over $10 million were spent renovating the building to transform the heritage landmark into an exhibit space for the Rennie Collection, open to the public free of charge two days per week. On top of the museum is an art piece by world-renowned artist Martin Creed, “EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT” (Work No 850). The only Dan Graham pavilion in Canada also sits on the roof of the museum.
Rennie and the Vancouver Art Gallery
Rennie is a vocal opponent to the proposed move of the Vancouver Art Gallery from the current location in Robson Square to a newly constructed building on the city-owned Larwill Park (formerly the bus depot) next to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. He questions the fiscal responsibility of the move, estimated to cost $400 million, as well as the plan to hire an international architect.
Rennie has been criticized for trying to gentrify Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, one of the poorest communities in Canada, with the Woodward's Building project, which includes 536 condominiums and 200 non-market homes. Critics said that the project pushed residents out and increased rent for the neediest members of the city.
Rennie is also the marketer for condominiums at the former 2010 Olympic Village, a project that has been the subject of controversy and extensive media attention around the project’s financial challenges for several years.
Since 2004, he has accumulated over two hundred parking tickets, of which he refers to as "the cost of being busy",all of which have been paid.
In 2012, Rennie made a major contribution to the National Gallery of Canada with his donation of Brian Jungen's 2004 artwork Court. Consisting of 210-240 factory sewing tabletops repainted to look like a basketball court, the work has previously never been shown in Canada.
As well as his extensive work with museums and art-related organizations, Rennie sits on the board for the Streetohome Foundation, a local organization that aims to help ensure the homeless in Vancouver have access to safe, decent, affordable housing and support services. The project has raised $26 million to date and resulted in the building of 1000 non-market homes. Rennie is also a noted supporter of Vancouver General Hospital.
Rennie is consistently listed in Vancouver Magazine's annual Power 50; in 2011 he was named No. 8. In 2002 he was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, and in 2012 the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, both of which are awarded to Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their fellow citizens, their community, or to Canada. Simon Fraser University awarded him the 2012 Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award, "for his role in bringing the Woodward’s redevelopment—and SFU’s new home for the School for the Contemporary Arts—to fruition."
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