Image: City Abstract #2

January 1, 2016

city abstract II

Changes On the Drive #53

January 1, 2016

I did the walk over several days this week. The weather was so gorgeous, with each day seemingly better than the one before — crisp and clear and bright with sunshine!  It wasn’t a busy month for changes.

Down at the south end, the Marquee storefront at 2240 Commercial is still vacant (after 5 months), as is 2245 across the street (14 months).

The Flight Centre storefront in the newly-renovated Brandon Block is still undergoing renovations. They have a temporary office in the apartments upstairs.

201601 Flight Centre


In the Il Mercato Mall on the corner of First & Commercial, the old Strawberry Bakery site is still vacant (12 months), and the managers continue to look for tenants to take over offices on the second floor.

Across the street, at 1670, the Caffe Napoli is no more. It had been closed a month or more “for renovations” but has now re-opened under the not-so-imaginative name “The Drive Coffee Bar”.

201601 The Drive Coffee


I haven’t had a chance to go in yet to see if the same owners/managers are there or whether it is all change.

The apartments in the Odlin Block at 1612 still seem to be vacant, with no drapes or blinds visible at the windows.

Then, at 1394 Commercial, we have what may turn out to be the major change on the Drive this year. A major fire early on Monday morning has completely destroyed at least two apartments, left 20 tenants homeless, and all the storefronts have suffered water and/or smoke damage.

201601 1300 apartment fire

I spoke with Rolf at the bookstore and he hopes their main problem will be water damage to a small section of shelves in storage.  A friend of mine who lives in the suites has been moved out to a motel with little further information.

The building’s insurance assessors were just arriving when I was there. The building structure appears to be in good shape and I hope it is just a question of renovation and cleanup. That building is in a key central area for the Drive and, should the building have to be replaced, it will — both literally and figuratively — leave a big hole in the core of our neighbourhood.

The storefront at 1303 Commercial, owned by Renzo’s next door, is still vacant (2 months). Also vacant — as if it were their natural habitat — are 1340 (10 months), 1268 (31 months), and 1108 (21 months).

The REACH building at 1145 Commercial is now closed for re-development. REACH’s services have moved elsewhere during the build.

The renovations at the old Peg building at the southwest corner of Commercial & Parker apparently continue. However, little work seems to have gone on this past month from what I can tell.

Finally, the old Money Mart at 902 Commercial is still vacant (8 months). I guess Robyn’s is still having trouble moving ahead with their expansion into that space.


Previous Changes On the Drive posts.

A Sad Beginning

January 1, 2016

I read that there was a major house fire at 1138 Lily Street this morning.

Image: CBC

Image: CBC

This is just a few days after we lost the apartments at Commercial & Kitchener.

Fortunately the house was vacant and no-one has been hurt.  Fire in the Lily/Rose area is always problematic because of the narrow heritage streets. This one has cost us a 1909 original.

2016 Begins

January 1, 2016

2016 New Year