Homeless in Vancouver: Then there were none—last restaurant in 1465 West Broadway closes for good

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      When the Memphis Blues Barbecue House at 1465 West Broadway closed Sunday (January 19) at 10 p.m., it was for the last time ever.

      As of Monday, the door of the restaurant displays a new handwritten notice. This is tucked among the list of business hours, stickers for accepted credit cards, supported delivery services and readers’ choice awards—including the Georgia Straight‘s Best of Vancouver, for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and the now-defunct Westender’s Best of the City Dining for 2016 and 2017.

      The notice, written to 19-years-worth of customers, reads:

      “We sincerely Thank You!!!

      It’s been a pleasure to bring you great BBQ since 2001. With much sadness we have been replaced by a Skytrain station. We look forward to serving you kick-ass BBQ at our other locations:

      1342 Commercial Dr.
      430 Robson St.

      ‘Ask us what we’ve been smoking!'”

      The SkyTrain station referred to in the note is one for the Broadway subway, which is included in the redevelopment plans for 1465-1489 West Broadway.

      The plans, first leaked in July 2019, were officially put forward three months later, in October, by PCI Developments—owner of both properties. PCI’s application for the combined redevelopment (DP-2019-00704) is currently awaiting all-but-certain approval by the City of Vancouver.

      Redevelopment deletes a popular little restaurant row

      Lights are on but nobody’s home—1465 West Broadway at 7:24 a.m. Monday.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      Memphis Blues was the first (and only) restaurant tenant in 1465 West Broadway to go public about the demolition clause of its lease being activated on November 1, 2019, when it received a 90-day eviction notice from the property’s new owner, PCI Developments.

      But it was actually the last of the building’s three tenants to shutter its doors.

      The Breakfast table at 1461 West Broadway—devoid Monday morning of either breakfast, or tables.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      The Breakfast Table, located two doors west at 1481, closed January 12, according to a chalk board sign in the window, which adds:

      “Relocating to 3014 Granville Street very soon.
      Thank you for your support the past three years!”

      The Fortune Garden, located between the Breakfast Table and Memphis Blues, closed permanently on December 31, 2019.

      There is no sign in the window but according to Fortune Garden’s Facebook page, the restaurant—which has served its Shanghainese and Hong Kong style cuisine at the same location for 30 years, under a few different owners—does not plan to open at a new location…”soon”.

      After the demolition clause a short demolition pause

      According to somewhat reliable sources (including a homeless friend who will lose their long-time sleeping spot because of the redevelopment) the one-storey building at 1465 West Broadway may be demolished in as little as a month’s time.

      The levelled-off lot of 1465 will probably then serve as expanded equipment staging area for the more complex demolition of the four-storey office building at 1489 West Broadway, which, I’m told, is expected to happen in about six months time.

      Matcon Demolition Ltd. and PCI Developments applied for demolition permits for 1465 West Broadway (DB-2019-04994) and 1489 West Broadway (DB-2019-04182) on October 31, 2019, but both are still listed by the City of Vancouver as under review.

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

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