Changes On The Drive #9

May 1, 2012

It was another beautiful day to walk down the Drive today — and busy, too, for a Tuesday.

Down at the south end, the rebuilding of the Far East Building is still in progress; they seem to be a long way away from completion.  Just across the street from them, the building at 2223 which has been vacant since the beginning of the year (when the rental company moved over to Venables) seems to be having work done on the interior:  that’s a positive sign (although I know a few locals who were hoping it might be demolished and redeveloped.)

Still vacant though is 1840 where Deja Vu used to be.

This has been vacant for many months now.  Also still vacant are the old DQ space in Il Mercarto, the brand new storefront next to Liberty Wines (1900 sq ft @$35 + triple net which sounds expensive to me), the old BLVD shop at 1338 Commercial, and the space at 1020 Commercial which used to be Vigo Remittances.

The Babylon Cafe on the Graveley corner of Il Mercarto has finally opened …

… as has Famoso, the Neapolitan Pizza joint.  Famoso and Mercello’s are now battling to complete new patios facing each other!

We will soon have another vacancy, unfortunately, as the ever-useful Kitchen Corner is in its last month.

Where the heck am I going to buy cheap stationery once they go?  I’ll be in mourning.

I have heard a rumour that the heritage Campbell Block — known best as the site of Tony’s Deli — might be for sale.  This is one building I know that many activists will work hard to save if it is threatened.  We can always hope, of course, that the new owners might be tempted to restore the old conical hat that used to grace the roof as seen in this 1922 image:

Finally, I want to note once again why I am writing this monthly series.  I was able to write “The Drive” because I had access to the wonderful  “Highland Echo” newspaper which, week after week for more than 60 years, filled eight pages of strictly local information.  We don’t have anything like that today and I hope that, for future historians, the Changes on the Drive series might be a useful short-form version. If you have information that you can share with me that will make this a better resource, please feel free to email me.