New vegetarian grocery with rental homes above proposed in Vancouver’s Punjabi Market area

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      A planned development in the Punjabi Market area of Vancouver promises to liven up the waning commercial strip.

      A six-storey mixed-used building has been proposed at the northwest corner of Main Street and East 51st Avenue, which used to be a South Asian clothing store.

      The development at 6679 Main Street features a vegetarian grocery on ground level and 28 market rental units above the store.

      An application has been filed with the city to rezone the commercial property for comprehensive development.

      The submission was made by F. Adab Architects Inc. on behalf of SKA Property Inc.

      In the design rationale, the architectural firm discussed the significance of the project to the once-thriving Punjabi Market.

      “During the past 15 years many Punjabi Businesses have moved to Surrey and the remaining commercial strip is not doing well,” the document stated. “The proposed development aims at revitalizing and enhancing the character and vibrancy of the…market neighbourhood and encourages the return of East Indian residents and shop owns who have left the area.”

      The design rationale went on to give an idea of who are behind the proposed development.

      “The developer’s team are of East Indian origin and presently active in the cultural and social fabric of the East Indian community,” the document noted. “Their aim is to use the ground floor for their family business: a vegetarian grocery store. Their long-term commitment to the management of the building and their commercial enterprise on the street should help to play a significant role in the diversification, revitalization and beautification of the neighbourhood for years to come.”

      Last year, Headwater Projects filed a development permit application for the property. It planned to renovate the three-storey building. The company intended to put in two new commercial spaces on ground level and 16 rental homes above.

      The development application apparently did not go forward as the site is now owned and subject to a rezoning application by SKA Property Inc., which has an address in Burnaby.

      Niels Wilde with F. Adab Architects Inc. told the Georgia Straight  by phone iThursday (June 29) that the proposed project seeks to bring in more people to the neighbourhood, and improve the commercial nature of the area. 

      An open house for the development will be held July 10 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Himalaya Restaurant (6587 Main Street).