Changes On the Drive #70

June 1, 2017

It was a really wet walk today!  It was so wet, even the pigeons were cowering under the pediment of the Odlin Block.

 

Starting down south as usual, I notice that the renovation of the old Food Shop on the corner of Commercial and Grandview highway has actually created three units rather than the two I had expected. They are numbered as 2283-2285-2287 Commercial, and a new door has been created for 2287.

The laundry at 2058 Commercial is still operating and still has a large For Lease sign.

In the 1800-block, the former Waves Coffee store at 1850 is still vacant (after 3 months), as is Wonderbucks at 1801 (4 months). One block north, 1735 Commercial is vacant, along with 1740 (8 months), 1706 Commercial (6 months) and 1706 E. 1st. I note that the “Bubble Tea coming soon” signs at 1706 Commercial are no longer there.

North of 1st, the former Strawberry Bakery site inside Il Mercato is still vacant after 29 months. Across the street, there seems no sign of encouragement at the Libra Room which has been closed now for 10 months, the ancient “Coming Soon” signs notwithstanding.  The same could be said for the Roma at 1500, closed now for 7 months. Perhaps they too are having insurance issues which is what we understand (from a comment to the last Changes post) is holding up renovations at Charlatan at 1447 Commercial. Their closure has now lasted 4 months.

The storefronts at 1303 (8 months), 1108 (37 months), 952 (9 months), and 902 (25 months) are still vacant.

On the bright side, the Tandoori Palace at 1439 has reopened after renos, and La Dolce Amore gelato emporium is closed for a few days while they complete a renovation. As reported last month, they will have a whole raft of new flavours and combinations for the re-opening.  Also now open is Bao Down at 1408. It seems to be a beer and tacos joint, though I couldn’t see a menu to confirm. Their interior walls are brightly painted throughout with Steam Whistle pilsener ads.

Choices now has opaque glass on all Drive-facing windows, blanking the view inside. Their store is nearly half a block long and this makes that whole section look unattractive and rather bleak. They need to put plants and or produce outside to create some street appeal.

Last month I mentioned that the REACH building was moving alongm but I forgot to include an image. Here it is today.

 

At 1011, upstairs from Penelope’s is now DAMA on the Drive, a shop and play space for the international game of Kendama.  Know what that is? Neither did I.  Here they will tell you all about it.  Good luck to them!

Further to my post last month about the lack of public clocks, I note that Carepoint Clinic has a clock in their waiting room visible from the street, and there is another on the north wall of Heather’s Salon at 2239 Commercial.

 

Previous editions of Changes on the Drive.


The De-Beautification of Vancouver Continues

May 19, 2017

Vision Vancouver’s plan to turn Vancouver into a homogenous zone of endlessly similar beige neighbourhoods of townhouses, duplexes and soaring tower clusters continues apace.

Two of the loveliest buildings that make Grandview so special are about to be lost to us.

Image: Google Streetview

The pair of cottages at 2040 and 2054 Pandora are for sale, as a pair, at $5,600,000.  There is a “potential to build up to 11 units … excellent development opportunity.” That seems to encourage demolition and the imposition of some bland modern revenue development.

Why can’t we incentivize the current owner or a purchaser to moving the houses forward on the lot, thus maintaining a heritage streetscape at that point. The incentive presumably would be the right to infill buildings behind the old houses which themselves could be renovated and made strata. A form of HRA, I guess, not unlike Jeffs Residences and the presently-being-constructed Brookhouse on Parker.

Anyway, it will be a great shame to see these houses disappear.


The Postwar Housing Bubble

May 12, 2017

As a follow up to an earlier post about the collapse of house and land values in the pre-WW2 period, I have today posted a brief notice about the post-war boom from 1948 to 1955.

Both posts use very small data sets but I believe they are good illustrations of what can happen over short periods of time.

Hope you find it of interest.


Birth of A Community, Part 4

May 6, 2017

I have today published the fourth part of my brief history of Grandview. This chapter covers the first growth of Grandview from 1901 to 1907.

I hope you find it of interest.


Changes on the Drive #69

May 1, 2017

May showers, eh? What started out as a not-unpleasant cool mist in the air became, by the end of my walk, a steady downpour. Oh well. Who needs a suntan when you can rust?

Right down at the southern end of the core, the old Food Stop at 2289 Commercial is being refitted. A wall has been erected onside making it into two spaces, though there is still only a single door. Could be a private office connected by a corridor at the back, I guess.

There had been some suggestion that perhaps Donald’s produce would be expanding into the Food Stop space. However, a “manager” there that I spoke with didn’t know of that plan.

The Sweet Greek at 2227 Commercial has now been open just under a month. See my review from early April. The owner has lost his big Greek beard since I was there last, but his welcome was just as warm.  This morning I had a mini baklava that was perfect, without any cloying sweetness. Nice place.

 

At the old Russell’s place at 2068 Commercial, the new construction continues apace.

 

The old laundry at 2058 now sports a large “For Lease” sign.

Meanwhile, the former Waves Coffee shop at 1850 is still vacant (2 months), as are the old Wonderbucks space at 1801 (3 months), 1740 (7 months), and 1706 Commercial (5 months), along with 1704 E. 1st.  The vacant store at 1735 Commercial is being used this month as an NDP Provincial election office. In Il Mercato, the former Strawberry Bakery spaces continues to be unoccupied after 28 months.

Three big spaces in the core of the Drive continue to flounder: The Libra Room at 1608 Commercial is still closed after 9 months, the “opening soon” signs looking a little weathered these days. Same could be said for the Roma at 1500 Commercial, with little change since the new owner signs went up last month; it has been closed for 6 months now. Across the street at 1447, the Charlatan is still closed, three months after they said they were closing for renovations; unfortunately, there is no evidence of any work being done.

While we are in this mode I might as well mention now that the Tandoori Palace at 1439 Commercial is currently closed though they were actively renovating this morning when I went by so hopefully the closure will be brief.  The “opening soon” Bao Down restaurant at 1408 is still not open (closed now for 9 months). The storefronts at 1303 (7 months), 1108 (36 months!), 952 (8 months), and 902 (24 months) are all still vacant or closed.

There are some positive signs, too.  The pub on the corner of Graveley has been rebranded as The Dirty Penny. I hear that Dolce Amore gelato is planning a sort of re-opening on or about June 1st, with new flavours and delights; can’t wait!  And the Art Gallery at 1704 Charles now has a name, it is called Nina Di Gallery.

Also, the new Rosemary Rocksalt bagel place is now open at 1350 Commercial. It is bright and airy but has the personality of a fast-food joint. I bought a half-dozen mixed bagels and will give them a try.

 

Finally, the REACH construction in the 1100-block seems to be racing ahead which is good news for all of us waiting for its reopening..

 

Previous Changes on the Drive editions.


Brookhouse is Moving — At Last!

April 26, 2017

I understand that during the day tomorrow, Thursday, engineers will be lifting Brookhouse, 1872 Parker, to its new site on the same lot; the remains of the Edwardian house are being moved north and west from its present location. The move allows the developer to build a number of infill units on the lot as part of his Heritage Revitalization Agreement with the City.

The developer is the same one that developed the Jeffs Residences five years ago at Charles and Salsbury. On that occasion, another Queen Anne style house was saved by being moved a few feet from its original site, and we recorded much of the event.

We have been following the evolution of Brookhouse for some time now (see here for a look at what the interior looked like in 2012), and I know all heritage enthusiasts will be happy to see this project finally start moving forward; watching the old house fall apart under the battering of the elements has been distressing for many.


Chapter 3 of Birth of A Community

April 17, 2017

The third part of my history of early Grandview is now available at the Grandview Heritage Group website. This part covers the earliest settlers in our neighbourhood, from 1891 to 1901.

I hope you find it interesting!