Changes On The Drive #46

I took the walk this past weekend, in hot sunshine.  Damn fine.

Starting in the south, as usual, I note that reLiSH, which has taken the space at 2290 Commercial, is not yet open (11 months vacant/closed, so far).  I did discover that this is a tiny New Brunswick chain spreading its wings. They do burgers. As they say in their copy: “There are better burgers and then there are gourmet burgers. reLiSH is all about a eating experience never experienced. Think the DisneyWorld of Burgers. Add in a Maritime Canada personality …. That’s a recipe that’s hard to match. Have you ever met a Maritimer you didn’t reLiSH?” I haven’t tried them yet.

Across the street, at 2245 and 2247, the old Kingdom Beauty spaces are still vacant (7 months each).

The rebuilding at the Brandon Block (1700-block westside of Commercial) is moving on apace. I talked with the man I believe to be the owner, and he suggested they had another four or five weeks’ work to complete the building. A regular reader sent me this shot of the back of the building showing that they are far from finished.

Brandon block back

This week they have been rebuilding the front of the two southside storefronts that currently house Pronta Moda and The Travel Company, putting in new windows, and concrete mouldings to mimic the cornices.

Brandon Block

The owner said that both stores would be open again by today.  By the way, I was told by someone who should know that Pronto Moda was sold to new management about a month ago. Their esthetician (who was very popular I hear) has gone to Nu-Nus @ 1855 Commercial.  But no solid word on the re-opening of JNZ at 1835 (11 months).

The former Strawberry Bakery space in Il Mercato is still vacant (4 months).

1401-1411 is still under wraps. But it looks restorative though, perhaps for the tin cornices.

1401-1411 CD

Across the street, at 1438, Vera’s has now re-opened. But next door at 1458, the long-promised Bon Vita Wellness bar is still not open, though I did see a chap working on it on Saturday (10 months).

At 1395 is the rather odd double-store called All Basha and Cafe Brado.  When I went by this weekend, the north half (Brado?) was closed off with shrouds.  Not sure what that presages.

The former Scandalicious space at 1340 Commercial is still closed (4 months), but with all equipment still in place, while Renzo’s at 1301 has a new patio on Charles, facing directly onto Grandview Park.  Not finished yet, but looks very nice!

Renzo's Patio

The “City Bistro” at 1268 is still just a vacant hope at this point (25 months).

Give & Receive at 1124 Commercial has a For Lease sign in the window. Is that a sign of a vacancy to come? Meanwhile, the old Urban Empire store at 1104 is still vacant (14 months).

Moja Coffee is finally open at 1102 Commercial. See my post on Moja.   I understand the 3-bedroom apartment upstairs is renting for $3,000 a month.

Finally, in the 900-block, 956 (1.5 months) and 902 (1 month) are still vacant, while Shibuya at 952 is till closed (5 months).

* * * * * * *

These Changes pieces have been running for almost 4 years now, and it is about that length of time since I last did a full inventory of the storefronts on my slice of the Drive.  So this month I completed a full count.

The definitions for the inventory are: (a) all storefronts between Venables and 7th Avenue; (b) ground floor retail space only; (c) fronting Commercial Drive only; (d) exclude government and similar offices (5 storefronts).

  • The qualifying number of storefronts = 253
  • Restaurants, bars, cafes and similar = 93 (37% of all qualifying storefronts)
  • Grocery, convenience, meat, fish, bakers, and deli stores = 31 (12.2%)
  • Clothing stores = 17 (7%)
  • Hair and beauty = 17 (7%)
  • Medical & Pharmacy = 15 (6%)
  • vacant = 15 (6%)
  • gifts, etc = 11 (4.4%)


See all previous Changes On the Drive posts.


4 Responses to Changes On The Drive #46

  1. Anonymous says:

    nice summary jak. great to see overview of drive from local economy perspective. vicki

  2. dbarkley2014 says:

    As always an interesting report, I wish I better understood why the vacancies remain for so long and why stores shutter without explanation when everything remains ready to operate inside.

    I have shared with my group on the Citizens’ Assembly who, along with me, proposed planning for the future of Commercial Drive. As well I shared it with the Directors of GWAC, a couple of whom are on your list, but not all. If we purport to represent the interests of the residents, and say that Commercial Drive is the heart of GW, then your reports act as a taking of the temperature of the Drive once a month from which we can observe certain aspects of its economic health. Thanks for this.

  3. Don Gardner says:

    Great Summary. Would be useful to see similar reports for other areas. Main, Frazer, West/central/east Broadway, 4th, Denman, etc. Perhaps something the neighborhood coalition could adopt? Too bad the BIA’s don’t produce something.

  4. Drive patron says:

    I was told that J,N,Z meats will open next month in the Brandon Block, when I was in Grotto Fromaggio. Much anticipation by shoppers in the store.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: