Homeless in Vancouver: First sign of Broadway subway demolition

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      After working its entire life for the Royal Bank of Canada, the 62-year-old office building at 1489 West Broadway was officially retired on Friday (November 29), when its signage was unceremoniously removed.

      The removal could be seen as the first modest step in the demolition of the old four-storey building on the northeast corner of West Broadway Avenue and Granville Street. It is already understood that 1489 West Broadway—together with the next door land of 1465 West Broadway—will be redeveloped, beginning in 2020.

      A development application (DP-2019-00704) encompassing both addresses was submitted to the City of Vancouver on October 1 by PCI Developments.

      Taking away the lightbox sign reveals evidence of an even earlier Royal Bank sign.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      PCI’s blueprints show a five-storey tower, as allowed by the current C-3A zoning. According to the Vancouver Courier, residential storeys may be added if the city’s Broadway Plan (expected December 2020), significantly increasing the allowable density.

      As of now, the upper four of five storeys are slated to be office space. The ground floor will consist of retail space on the West Broadway side and the Granville entrance to the Broadway subway on the southwest corner. The Granville side of the ground floor will be given over to the returning RBC bank branch.

      In the meantime RBC is opening a branch at 2735 Granville Street, effective 12 p.m., Monday (December 2).

      PCI’s development application for 1465-1489 West Broadway is scheduled to go before the city’s development permit board on December 9, at a meeting open to the public, beginning at 3 p.m. in Vancouver City Hall’s Town Hall meeting room.

      Lousy Christmas present for RBC’s three neighbours

      Close-up of traces of the signage in the style of the logo that the Royal Bank used from 1974 to 2001.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      While several development application notices went up on 1489 West Broadway on October 10—and it has now been shut down as an operational bank—nothing so overt appears to have happened to its next-door neighbour and partner in redevelopment.

      But appearances are deceiving. While many Vancouverites' thoughts are turning toward the Christmas holidays, the three restaurant tenants of 1465 West Broadway will be thinking less of Santa Claus than of the demolition clause in each of their leases.

      On November 1, the Memphis Blues Barbecue House—an 18-year tenant of 1465 West Broadway—reportedly received official notice that its lease was being terminated and that (thanks to the demolition clause of their lease) the restaurant had to be out in 90 days.

      Neither one of the other two tenants, Breakfast Table or Fortune Garden, has acknowledged that its lease has similarly been terminated but all three restaurants could be scrambling to be out of the doomed building by the last week of January.

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer.

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