Homeless in Vancouver: More on the West Broadway Toys “R” Us and beyond

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      I may have identified the owner of the building at 1154-1174 West Broadway Avenue that Toys “R” Us has been leasing for the last 21 years—something I couldn’t do when I wrote my last post on how the historic BowMac sign faces demolition when the beleaguered toy retailer finally vacates the West Broadway store.

      I drew most of my information for that post from a report on the 1997 heritage revitalization agreement (HRA).

      But while it details how the HRA saved the 1950s BowMac sign from destruction by incorporating it into the new store built at the location and leased by Toys “R” Us, the report stops short of actually identifying the owner who made the agreement with the City of Vancouver in the first place.

      Who owns and who’s owed

      A panoramic photo of the West Broadway Toys “R” Us rooftop parking lot looking west, from 2013.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      Actual land title searches cost real money in British Columbia but, thanks to a bit more digging on the Internet, I was able today to find a reference on the Vancouver Archives website to a physical copy and/or microfiche of the 1997 by-law enabling the preservation of the BowMac sign, which is buried in the Archives’ City of Vancouver fonds dealing with by-laws.

      The archive’s website does not provide a digital copy of “By-law no. 7771 : a by-law to authorize Council entering into a Heritage Revitalization Agreement with the owner of heritage property“, dated July 22, 1997 (and coded COV-S36–), but its description of the “scope and content” includes the following gem:

      “By-law includes agreement between Toyo Enterprises Ltd. and the City of Vancouver regarding 1154-1176 West Broadway (“Bowmac” sign).”

      From the Vancouver Archives, my web searches led to a B.C. Ministry of Finance Corporate Registries online Changes of Name notice, which says that on August 8, 2008, “TOYO ENTERPRISES LTD.” changed its name  to “PENGCO ENTERPRISES LTD.”

      “PENGCO ENTERPRISES LTD.”, in turn, is listed as a landlord—alongside Canadian companies such as RioCan (which owns 2 properties in Ontario leased by Toys “R” Us)—in a Toys “R” Us, Inc. bankruptcy debtors’ application, filed on December 14, 2017, in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia.

      This doesn’t make it 100 percent certain that Pengco is the owner of 1154-1174 West Broadway but the circumstantial evidence is strong.

      A lot of debt to go around

      This debtors’ application in the Toys “R” Us bankruptcy proceeding that I found is interesting for its scope in identifying previously unidentified parties that are potentially affected.

      A total of 74 Canadian municipalities and government agencies are listed (including 14 in British Columbia) that, one assumes, may be owed something in the way of taxes and business fees from Toys “R” Us stores.

      There are also a number of property companies—in both Canada and the United States (and perhaps the United Kingdom as well) that own property leased by Toys “R” Us.

      As well, there are consulting companies, suppliers, and (of course) many toy makers.

      When you consider that the application’s five-page list is over and above other lists of affected parties, it suggests just how widely felt will be the effects—financial and otherwise—of the Toys “R” Us collapse. 

      Here are the 74 Canadian “Governmental/Regulatory Agencies” included in the Second Supplemental Declaration of December 14, 2017, listing “New Parties” involved in the Debtors’ [Toys “R” Us, Inc.] chapter 11 cases that were not identified on Schedule A to the Original Declaration:

      Alberta Recycling Management Authority
      British Columbia Safety Authority
      Call2Recycle Canada, Inc.
      Canadian Electrical Stewardship Association
      Centre de Sante et de Services Sociaux
      City of Barrie
      City of Belleville
      City of Burlington, Ontario
      City of Burnaby
      City of Calgary
      City of Coquitlam
      City of Edmonton
      City of Fredericton
      City of Hamilton
      City of Kamloops
      City of Kelowna
      City of Kingston
      City of Kitchener
      City of Lethbridge
      City of London
      City of Nanaimo
      City of Ottawa
      City of Red Deer
      City of Regina
      City of Richmond
      City of Saskatoon
      City of St. Catharines
      City of Surrey
      City of Thunder Bay
      City of Toronto
      City of Vancouver
      City of Vaughan
      City of Victoria
      City of Windsor
      City of Winnipeg
      Commission Scolaire Des Draveurs
      Commission Scolaire Des Patriotes
      Commission Scolaire Marie-Victorin
      Commission Scolaire Western Quebec
      Consumer Protection BC
      Destination Centre-Ville
      District of North Vancouver
      Electronic Products Recycling Association
      Institut National de Sante Publique du Quebec
      Manitoba Minister of Finance
      Minister of Finance
      Minister of Finance of Manitoba
      Minister of Revenue of Alberta
      Minister of Revenue of Saskatchewan
      Ministere du Revenu du Quebec
      Ministry of Social Services
      Multi-Material Stewardship Western
      Ontario Electronic Stewardship
      Ontario Film Authority
      Receiver General for Canada
      Regie des Alcools des Courses
      Region of Peel
      Regional District of Central Okanagan
      Revenue Services of British Columbia
      Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation
      Societe de Gestion Place Laurier Inc.
      Technical Standards and Safety Authority
      The Township of Langley
      Town of Whitby
      Treasurer, City Of Toronto
      Ville de Dieppe
      Ville de Drummondville
      Ville de Gatineau
      Ville de Saint-Bruno-De-Montarville
      Workers’ Compensation Board
      Workplace Health, Safety & Compensation Comm.,
      Workplace Safety & Insurance Board
      Workplace Safety & Prevention Services
      Worksafe NB