Last week, probably on Thursday 13 September 2012, a large For Lease sign appeared at the Kingsway at Gladstone corner of the 2220 Kingsway Canadian Tire site.
In mid 2011 Westbank purchased the 2.3 acre site for a little over $34 million. On 8 June 2012 the developer lodged a rezoning application with the City of Vancouver.
The For Lease advertisement seems odd, since the previous site occupant, Canadian Tire, was doing good business at the location and required no outfitting for useful continued tenancy. According to local rumor, Canadian Tire had an interest in purchasing the site, though likely not at the escalated residential price for the land deliberately brought on by the Norquay Plan.
The likeliest speculations are that recent market conditions have made immediate development less attractive and/or the application process is beginning to look more extended in face of the critical eye that the local community focuses through the lens of the Norquay Plan.
If the 2220 Kingsway site is leased on an interim basis, it is to be hoped that the developer will respect the community by not enabling a detrimental use, as occurred notoriously at the abandoned Safeway building located at the Kingsway and Knight triangle that became King Edward Village. It is further to be hoped that the City of Vancouver would not issue an inappropriate business license in an area targeted for “revitalization.”
Even an interim tenant would need to modify the existing structure, and thus require some guaranteed period of tenancy to recuperate those costs. It is also possible that the parking lot alone could be leased for short-term uses. This seems to have been the case recently for a large collection of vehicles apparently associated with a film production company. Again, the City of Vancouver may need to monitor such uses in the midst of a long-established single-family residential neighborhood.