A proposal for the London Drugs redevelopment on East Hastings by Penticton Street is expected to be filed with the city later this year.
Hastings Sunrise Development Ltd., a subsidiary of London Drugs, is working on design plans for the revamped project, which has been anticipated for years.
Few details have been released although the building will be four storeys and will be anchored with a London Drugs store on the ground floor and residential rental units above. The previous plan was for market condo units.
The move from condo to rental units “takes into consideration many different market and business factors,” according to London Drugs spokesperson Wendy Hartley.
London Drugs owns the land from Penticton Street west to the end of the lot that’s now home to the Hastings North Temporary Community Garden.
Companies get tax breaks for allowing empty lots to be used as community gardens.
Some neighbourhood residents were upset that they lost longtime businesses on the 2500 block of East Hastings over the many years it’s taken for the development plans to take shape.
A London Drugs store continues to operate midblock at 2585 East Hastings — a temporary store will open at 2696 East Hastings, just east of the existing store, before construction starts.
Late last year, a vacant building, which used to house a McDonald’s restaurant, was knocked down to make way for the redevelopment.
The previous plan was for a mixed-use project called Alba, but it was shelved in 2013 because of poor market conditions.
Shifting Growth, the operator of the community garden, has been told the garden will be closed Nov. 15, after the September harvest.
Chris Read, Shifting Growth’s executive director, said the original agreement with London Drugs was for a three-year term, so he’s pleased they managed to get a fourth growing season in. There are 206 garden beds on the site.
“Usually, it's about two-plus people [per] garden bed but the space is enjoyed by many more members of the community. Thousands of pounds of product has been grown in the space,” he told the Courier.
Read said there are no plans yet about where to move the garden beds, but they have some time to find a new home for them.
The timeline for the London Drugs redevelopment will be determined by the permitting process with the City of Vancouver, but the company hopes the project will be completed and ready for occupancy by the spring of 2020.
In a press release issued June 20, Clint Mahlman, executive vice president and chief operating officer for London Drugs, said: “London Drugs has been a proud member of this community for more than 40 years. We have operated our store alongside a temporary community garden at the East Hastings and Penticton location for the past few years and we wish to thank the East Village community for your ongoing support and patronage during this time.”