The year 2017 has started out on what looks like a bright note, at least where Vancouver’s live-music scene is concerned.
If you’ve walked by the shuttered Railway Club in the past week or so, you might have noticed that the much-loved venue now has a "Leased" sign on it. It sat vacant for much of 2016, after an ownership group headed by Steve Silman shut it down in March.
In a call with the Georgia Straight, Sadru Parpia of Team 3000 Realty Ltd. confirmed that paperwork for the space at 579 Dunsmuir Street has indeed been signed off on.
“Someone has taken on the lease,” Parpia said. “I’m not at liberty to say who at this point, but it’s good news—let’s put it that way.”
Asked if the room will be featuring live music, he said: “As far as the format goes, I suspect that it will be the same, but again I’m not sure. It totally depends on the new party that’s leasing it.”
Parpia said that there will be minor renovations to the room, after which he expects the new owners will announce their vision for the venue.
The Railway Club first opened in 1931 as a drinking spot for railroad workers employed at the CPR Station at the foot of Seymour Street.
The spot was reborn as a live-music venue in 1980, after being purchased by one-time NDP MLA Bob Williams. His stepdaughter Janet Forsyth and her sibling Steve Forsyth, turned the Railway into one of Canada’s most fabled live-music rooms. Over the years, acts that played the room included k.d. lang, Blue Rodeo, the Tragically Hip, and Los Lobos.
In 2008 Steve Silman took over the club. Citing the high rent, he announced in December 2015 that he was selling the business for $299,000. When there were no takers, the Railway was abrubtly closed in March.
Vancouver music fans were quick to mourn it as a major blow to the city's cultural scene.
More details to come.