Green House Keeping?

1885venables

Here is a statement from the City through Senior Heritage Planner Marco D’Agostini about the Green House at 1885 Venables – the former rectory for Grandview Methodist Church referred to in previous posts.

“The Vancouver East Cultural Centre with the support of the city is looking at possible retention of the Green House for the purposes of providing rehearsal and non-profit space; however, there is a question of the physical state of the building and whether or not it can be retrofitted for those purposes at a reasonable cost. There will be a variety of activities occurring in the next few weeks to assess the building state and possible renovation and, based on the outcomes of those investigations, the VECC will make a decision on moving forward. In the interim the building is being secured and continues to be overseen by the VECC with City assistance.”

Scott’s and other grocery stores

As reported in the previous post, Scott’s Grocery is having a close-out sale; Steve and Esther, who have run it for more than 20 years, are retiring to Burnaby, the building has been sold, and the new owner reportedly wants to build “apartments” on the RM4-zoned site. Here’s Scott’s in Google Street View:

scotts

… and a watercolour I painted of it a couple of years ago.

73scottsgrocery

Heritage staff at City Hall are aware of the property and have “put a mark on its file” that would flag it to any potential developer making an enquiry to demolish and replace. The lot, which is 33 x 120 feet, is too small to contemplate any sort of multi-family structure, and we haven’t heard of any attempted lot assembly on that side of the street – please let us know if you hear of anybody snuffling around looking to buy up the rest of the block. Under the Heritage Action Plan, the Director of Planning would have the right to deny a development permit for heritage reasons if there is any conditional use or non-conformities involved. Anyway, that’s way off in the future, we hope.

The question is whether the new owner will eventually see the building and its grandfathered commercial use as an asset and look for a new tenant that could make it cool, as have Via Tevere at William, Monarchy Boutique at Charles, South China Trading Company at Grant and Figaro’s at 3rd – all former grocery stores. This is only a partial list of the former commercial spaces dotted along Victoria Drive, all of which ought to be retained as they contribute to the uniqueness of our ‘hood.

Heritage Vancouver has posted Scott’s on its Facebook page.

Grandview’s former grocery stores would make a fascinating subject for a research project and presentation. For example, here’s a 1960s-era city planning department photo from the City of Vancouver Archives of the McLean Grocery on McLean at Napier, showing how bleak and un-vegetated the area once was (so typical of the city’s old neighbhourhoods in that era).

1960mcleangrocer

And the more-or-less current scene, from vPike:

mcleangrocery2

Any volunteers to do the research and source photos?

Meeting Notes: February

We had another excellent meeting last night, with some new people joining us for the first time. I think they had a good tme.  Our discussions included:

  • the Green House next to the Cultch.  Michael reviewed the history of our involvement and our desire to see the building renovated rather than demolished. It was noted that the City retains responsibility for the maintenance of the structure.  Given Clr. Heather Deal’s statement last month that the City would like to see a solution that retains the building, it was agreed that MK will draft a letter to Brian Jackson, James Boldt and others confirming our interest in ensuring the building’s survival.
  • Brookhouse — further to last month’s exciting news that our friend and colleague James Evans might be interested in saving this building in a manner similar to what he did with the Jeffs Residence, it was learned that he is still in negotiations with the current owner.  It was agreed that we would give him political backing by writing another letter to the City opposing any application to demolish the building.
  • 2014 Centenary Signs — It was agree that the next exploratory walk to find houses for this year’s celebration will take place at 10:00am on Saturday 15th March (or in the event of rain, on Sunday 16th).  A small working group will meet in advance to plan routes etc.
  • Scott’s Grocery — Blair advised us that Scott’s Grocery on Victoria is about to close.  It will cease operation at the end of this month and the building has been sold to a developer who, apparently, wants to put an apartment building on the small lot. We discussed the history of attempted “block-busiting” on both sides of that block.  It was also noted that the current zoning on Scott’s lot is RM4 and therefore a small apartment building would likely be within regulations. We discussed the history of Scott’s building (1920s) and the other corner stores (now all gone) in the neighbourhood. MK will inquire at the Heritage Commission meeting on Monday if there is any support for saving the streetscape on that block.  We also discussed the possibility of a project looking at the history of the various corner stores.
  • Astorino’s — No further developments to report.
  • Student Intern Project — No further developments to report. We hope to hear back from her soon.
  • Note was taken of two upcoming events:
    • 24th February: Meeting of the Commercial Drive Action Group at Britannia Boardroom at 7:00pm to discuss the future of Commercial Drive.  Seems like this might be mostly about bike lanes.
    • 6th March: Heritage Vancouver meeting at 938 Howe to discuss heritage in the context of the current Community Plans.
  • We finished the evening in high style with another in Eric’s Heritage Mechanics and Materials series of illustrated talks.  This was Part 2 of Home Heating.  After reviewing the various fuel types he had discussed at last month’s meeting, Eric took us on a tour of fireplaces, kitchen stoves, parlour stoves, various furnaces, steam and hot water systems, radiators, kerosene heaters and various furnace and radiator control systems.  Marvelous stuff that included the observation that the introduction of furnaces had a profound effect on building design as a basement (often a raised basement in Vancouver) was a requirement for the furnace and fuel supplies.

 

Notice of February 20th meeting

Our regular monthly meeting will take place from 7 – 9 pm in the boardroom at Britannia. On the agenda:

The Green House at The Cultch: a report on the meeting with director Heather Redfern, reported in an earlier post on this blog, and a discussion of how to proceed with a campaign to see it rehabilitated and continuing in use

– Moving forward on the 2014 Century Signs project: winter weather has delayed our usual slog through the ‘hood looking for likely candidates for our signs. This is the third year of our program that has already celebrated and researched 50 Grandview houses.

– Pending closure of Scott’s Grocery at Victoria and Georgia: neighbour Blair Redlin notified us of the “Closing Out Sale” signs at Scott’s, a 1920’s purpose-built grocery store that is the last one still functioning on the non-Drive/non-Hastings part of the neighbourhood. According to Blair, new owners of the lot are talking about building apartments – unfortunately from a preservationist’s viewpoint, the land is zoned RM-4, which permits “medium density residential development, including a variety of multiple dwelling types, to encourage the retention of existing buidings and good design, and to achieve a number of community and social objectives through permitted increases in floor area.”

Astorino’s update

Stephanie Chang‘s Geography 429 project focusing on the Woodland Park area.

– Upcoming events and new items

… and, our speaker …

Eric Phillips will present the second half of his illustrated talk on vintage home-heating systems of the early houses in Grandview, a continuation of his stellar Mechanics and Materials series.

All are welcome!