It was a glorious morning to be walking today, cold and clear and sunny. Add maybe five degrees to the temperature and I could be quite happy to spend all year like this.
As usual, we start down at the southern end. At 2277 Commercial, Kingdom Beauty Supplies has now closed. Not long ago they had this space plus two storefronts next door. They gave up the other spaces some months ago, and now, it seems, they have shut down altogether.
Across the street, 2240 is still vacant (after 18 months, the last part of the Marquee development to be filled). There are still signs for the “soon open” 77K Freeze store, but o sign of an opening date.
The former Russell home and woodworking shop at 2084 and 2086 Commercial was demolished yesterday and the bulldozers were there today levelling the ground. Charlie Russell built the place himself back in 1955 and it is a shame to see it go. However, once it was sold in December 2015, we knew its future was limited. Just after the purchase, the owner put up a development sign (see Changes #52) that suggested a one-storey building was to be erected. Given they spent $3m on the lots (so we hear), a one-storey seems unlikely. Now that the land is available, I guess we will soon see.
2064 Commercial (vacant for 3 months) will soon be The Drive Smoke Shop. Opening day is again unknown.
Wonderbucks at 1801 Commercial has closed now. I wrote about this earlier in the month. The ever-loving and I took a nostalgic trip to the store a few days ago, and we were saddened by how it looked. We bought a set of dinner plates REALLY cheap and we will remember the old place whenever we dine on them.
The former tanning salon at 1740 is still vacant (4 months), and now 1735 is also vacant as Catz Hair has moved to 1280 Commercial.
The storefront at 1706 is vacant (2 months), but I guess the new bubble tea place will open at some point.
In Il Mercato, the old Strawberry Bakery space is still vacant after 25 months. Upstairs, some offices are also still available for lease.
The Libra Room at 1608 is still closed (6 months) and no date for re-opening is given on their website. However, they have large confident “Opening Soon” signs plastered on the windows.
Kalena’s at 1526 Commercial has announced they are celebrating their 50th anniversary on the Drive. I’m sure they know better than me, but oddly, I have notes from a story in the “Highland Echo” dated July 1968 (not 1967) in which Carmen D’Onofrio announces their opening that month. They were operating out of 1800 Commercial in those days.
Roma (closed now 3 months) also has big “Opening Soon” signs. But they also have a City Stop Work order on the front door and “Lead Hazard” tape all around, so who knows?
Marcello’s Pizzeria was visited by a number of fire engines and smoke blowers the other day. Not sure what that was about, but they seem to be all OK now.
1408 Commercial is still vacant (6 months) as is the space that used to be Bikes On the Drive (1 month). In the latter case, all the signs that used to promise a Bagel House to come have disappeared.
1303 Commercial is still vacant (4 months), while 1704 Charles has become a local art gallery, probably organised by Harry Grunsky. 1280 Commercial is still vacant (10 months) but Catz Hair is moving in today.
The northern half of Joe’s Cafe seems to have been taken over by BC Dance.
1104 (33 months) and 902 Commercial (21 months) are still vacant. 952 Commercial is also vacant (5 months) but the old cafe is all still set up inside, including with soda in the vending machines.
Previous Changes on the Drive editions.