A company from the 1988 Winter Olympics host city wants to fill the single biggest vacant space at the 2010 Games’ Olympic Village.
Calgary’s Craft Beer Market Restaurant and Bar is showing off plans for a $3 million to $4 million Vancouver expansion at an Oct. 27 open house from noon to 4 p.m. at the Salt Building.
Subject to provincial and civic regulatory approval, Craft hopes to open a food primary liquor licence next June or July in the 14,000-square-foot space, which was originally earmarked to house a Mark James brew pub. The red, former salt refinery and warehouse, first erected in 1930, was recently renovated for $15 million and served as the so-called “athletes’ living room” during the Vancouver Games.
“The Salt Building was a tough call for a lot of potential operators, because of its relatively large size and specific heritage features that have to be protected that may or may not have fit everybody’s marketing plans,” Vision Vancouver Coun. Geoff Meggs told the Courier. “The cost structure the city hoped to resolve with it was challenging.”
The proposed 350-seat, premium casual restaurant would have an open concept kitchen, plus a private room and mezzanine area for special events. Craft plans to offer more than 140 beers on tap. As for food, Craft promises “New North American classic cuisine” with locally sourced fresh produce and meats and signature items, like Bier-A-Misu. Craft opened its flagship location in Calgary in June 2011.
Craft president P.J. L’Heureux said he was encouraged by several B.C.-based suppliers to expand to Vancouver. Craft will help make the Olympic Village a downtown hub for craft beer connoisseurs. The two-year-old Legacy Liquor Store is the largest private outlet of its kind in B.C. Daniel Group opened its Tap & Barrel on two floors of the Creekside Community Recreation Centre in July.
“The Salt Building was always slated to be some sort of brew pub establishment,” L’Heureux said. “I would think the biggest change is we are going to be more food focused than what would have been in there.”
Receiver Ernst & Young took over the $1.1 billion project Nov. 17, 2010 after developer Millennium defaulted on $740 million owing. In its latest report to B.C. Supreme Court in June, E&Y said 518 of the 737 residential suites had sold. “We’re seeing an end in sight for this saga,” Meggs said. “It’s still not clear where we’ll end up financially, but it’s been working as well, if not better, than we might have hoped.”
In April 2011, city hall estimated a $50 million loss on the Village when it announced seizure of 32 Millennium-owned properties worth $45 million net. The most valuable property in the portfolio was 260 Esplanade West, a $19.94 million-assessed city block containing commercial and retail units in North Vancouver. City hall is accepting offers until Nov. 9.