What the Hell is That?!? – The Empty Lot

Stairs into a big puddle

It’s hard to spend more than a day in Vancouver without noticing the eyesore that is the empty lot at Davie and Howe. It’s even become a bit of a landmark, with its artificial Christmas tree branches strung through the chainlink fence to hide the giant muddy pit within from the eyes of passing pedestrians and drivers.

But what’s the story, really? Isn’t the property worth millions? Could it be the disputed estate of a deceased property mogul? A crime scene? A sinkhole, like in Garden State?

Nothing quite so exciting, but still interesting.

The lot had been the site of a Texaco gas station which was torn down in 1989. Environmental guidelines severely limit the types of establishment that may be built over a previous gas station site for up to a decade or so, so Imperial Oil retained ownership of a pay parking site over the land, but that as well was ripped up in 1996 and the land was allowed to air out for decontamination.

Finally this June, after nearly twenty years of inactivity, the lot has some promise for a new life. Anthem was granted a zoning approval by the City of Vancouver this year to start a new condo project on the property, called Alto, so it may not be long before the Davie St Pit is nothing more than a legend.

The Christmas Tree fence

5 Comments so far

  1. ron c. (unregistered) on October 22nd, 2007 @ 12:32 pm

    Genisis is an existing condo across the street. The new project is called Alto.


  2. ron c. (unregistered) on October 22nd, 2007 @ 12:32 pm

    Genesis is an existing condo across the street. The new project is called Alto.


  3. Matt (unregistered) on October 22nd, 2007 @ 12:50 pm

    Thanks for the correction, Ron. I’ve corrected it in the article. It’s interesting that the wrong property was mentioned on the zoning application itself (I had run across a copy online).


  4. Matt Collinge - the 604homesguy (unregistered) on October 22nd, 2007 @ 3:58 pm

    ALTO started selling last weekend so hopefully construction will start soon. I wasn’t there so I can’t tell you how busy it was. There realtor preview was quite busy that may have been the free food and drinks.


  5. Jay (unregistered) on October 24th, 2007 @ 10:16 am

    So nice to see something happening to this lot. Waiting for the bus in front of that hole was not a treat (not sure that it will be much better during construction).
    Only worry is what’s happened to all the rats that used to live in that lot. The place used to be crawling with dozens and dozens of rats in and around the brush and water!



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