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Article from the Vancouver Courier.

One of the first businesses to open in the former Olympic Village on False Creek is pleased with the July 5 announcement that anchor tenants London Drugs and Urban Fare plan to open at the development next spring.

But Legacy Liquor Store’s owners, the Granville Entertainment Group, wish the drug and grocery store had chosen to open earlier.

“It’s a little disappointing they’re not opening sooner, to be totally honest,” said Tania Richards, director of marketing and promotions for the company that owns two nightclubs, Doolin’s Irish Pub, the Comfort Inn and Snowbus to Whistler. “We’re not worried about it anymore. At the beginning we over-thought it and were a little concerned, and now we’re just doing our own thing.”

Granville Entertainment Group started talking to the city four years ago about acquiring a space for the liquor store in the development, Richards said.

“We explored that immediately knowing that there’s going to be a huge residential population. It’s going to grow into a huge community.”

Ernst and Young, the receiver for the financially troubled development, which has been rebranded as The Village on False Creek, reported in May that “the critical mass of population occupying residential condominium units required to open their major stores had not been achieved to date” for the Overwaitea Food Group, which owns Urban Fare, and London Drugs.

So why did Legacy open in November?

“We really just honoured our agreements,” Richards said. “Originally, we thought that everybody was going to grin and bear it and take any potential loss, which didn’t end up being the case.”

Ernst and Young noted in May that the anchor tenant agreements didn’t include definitive opening date covenants.

The firm reports a residential occupancy rate of 65 per cent.

A TD Canada Trust bank opened in October and a Terra Breads bakery and café is to open early next month.

Michael Lansky, founder, president and owner of Terra Breads, expects its corner spot with a licensed patio just off the community square and seawall to thrive. Terra Breads started operating a coffee and sandwich kiosk daily in the area last month. “Based on how busy that is, that’s a really good indication for us,” Lansky said.

Condos were relaunched in February for an average price of 30 per cent lower than at initial sales. Ernst and Young can’t disclose corresponding information about lease rates, said Lesli Boldt, president of Boldt Communications, who handles media inquiries about the development for the firm.

Of the total of 64,000 square feet of commercial space in the development, 3,500 square feet remains available for lease.

The city will lease the Salt Building and the park board is responsible for the Creekside Community Centre.

Ernst and Young will receive lease payments from London Drugs and Urban Fare when the stores open.

As for the largest private liquor store in the province, it holds events to draw customers seven nights a week. “We’re not in the red by any means,” Richards said. “We’re very pleasantly surprised about how we’re doing considering the residential levels being quite low.”

crossi@vancourier.com

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