I’ve written about Olympic Village a few times in the past year, and it always fascinates me. The whole neighborhood – something like 25 high-rises comprising eight city blocks – was built from scratch at a cost of more than a billion dollars to house athletes during the 2010 Olympics. Then, when the games were over, the place sat vacant – or nearly so – for at least a year: a ghost town right on the edge of downtown Vancouver. Well, things are finally starting to come around. You can see people on the streets, lights on in the condo towers and even eager recruits lining up for pole dancing classes. More on that in the article below, written for BC Business Magazine.
It Takes a Village: Signs of life in Vancouver’s newest neighborhood
Remy Scalza; Special to BC Business
On a recent Sunday afternoon, a free tasting of fortified wines has lured the thirsty and curious into Legacy Liquor Store, the cavernous new 8,600-square-foot private store in the heart of Olympic Village, now officially known as the Village on False Creek. Couples with monstrous strollers, the young and bearded of Mount Pleasant, and seniors in track suits and dark glasses crowd the granite-topped bar in back, sipping a mid-priced reserve from Jerez.
“I always think of this one as butter tarts in a glass,” says 31-year-old Legacy general manager Darryl Lamb, uncorking a bottle behind the bar. “With a little crème brûlée, flan, even Fig Newtons, it’s magic.” A line has formed, curling back through elaborate displays of craft beer and a maze of well-stocked wine racks. Between pours, Lamb explains that the healthy turnout today is hardly unusual: “The amount of walk-in traffic since we opened in November has been unbelievable. We’re already months and months ahead of our sales projections.”
In the throes of receivership, against a backdrop of lawsuits from jilted condo buyers and lingering controversies about concessions to developers and taxpayer-shouldered losses, the Olympic Village development and the surrounding Southeast False Creek neighbourhood (stretching from the Cambie Bridge to Main Street, and from False Creek to West Second Avenue) are quietly getting on with the business of business. Proximity to downtown, ample mass transit and an ambitious residential plan all seem to augur well for the area’s commercial future. “Developers are creating a lot of density and a lot of residential activity,” says Tsur Somerville, director of the Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate at UBC’s Sauder School of Business. “The fact that there are no readily accessible amenities there right now creates an excellent environment for retailers to go into.”
To read the full article, click here.