Vancouver’s Gastown enjoys retail renaissance Filson, Bailey Nelson and Herschel all set to open stores in the city’s heritage district

April 25th, 2017

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A spate of new retailers is coming to one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, including international brands locating some of their first Canadian locations in the historic Gastown district known for its cobblestone streets and Victorian street lamps.

H&M’s upscale fashion brand, COS, opened a 3,000-square-foot store at 18 Water Street last month. The Swedish giant had opened three central Canadian stores in the previous 18 months and selected Gastown as home to its first store in Western Canada.

Now comes word that international brands such as Filson and Bailey Nelson are planning to open stores in Gastown and that Vancouver-based handbag manufacturer Herschel Supply Co. is preparing to open its first corporately owned store in the neighbourhood.

The newcomers are expected to add a new vitality to the area, but their interest in locating in Gastown is not a surprise to executives at Fluevog Shoes, which has operated a 5,000-square-foot store in Gastown for almost a decade.

“We like the mix of creative people in the neighbourhood and the tourist traffic that comes here as well,” said the company’s COO, Adrian Fluevog, echoing sentiments expressed by many area retailers. “We’re very happy with our store’s performance and have made it our flagship store.”

Fluevog has watched the street evolve and said he thinks traffic has picked up in recent years.

Filson CEO Steve Bock told Business in Vancouver that he decided to locate his 12-store chain’s first Canadian store in Gastown because the area is “gritty” and has a heritage look that reflects well on his brand, which is 120 years old and was founded to supply durable clothing to prospectors during the Klondike gold rush.

Because Filson is a Seattle-based company that has most of its sales in the Pacific Northwest, Bock said choosing to open in Vancouver before opening in Toronto felt “natural.”

The 3,000-square-foot Filson store at 47 Water Street in Gastown is slated to open April 28 and is part of a wave of new stores that Filson is opening to boost its growth rate after decades of slow expansion. The company intends to open four other stores this year, including one in Toronto.

Australian optical chain Bailey Nelson will open its first Canadian store – a 1,200-square-foot boutique – on Vancouver’s Robson Street in June. A month later will come the brand’s second Canadian premises, a 1,700-square-foot store at 202 Carrall Street in Gastown.

(The iconic Hotel Europe building at 43 Powell Street sits on a triangular lot | Chung Chow)

Bree Stanlake, Bailey Nelson’s North American managing director, said Gastown’s young demographic and high concentration of artists was one of the reasons why her 27-store eyewear chain chose to locate in that district.

The company has so far operated only in Australia and New Zealand.

Vancouver beat out Toronto as the site for a first Canadian store because Vancouver’s culture is similar to that of Sydney, she said.

“Although Sydney is much warmer and a little more conducive to surfing and water sports, people in Vancouver are very much into having an outside lifestyle,” Stanlake said.

As for Herschel, it plans to start constructing a 5,000-square-foot flagship store at 347 and 349 Water Street in Gastown, and to open the store in 2018, principal Jamie Cormack told BIV.

He and brother Lyndon Cormack chose to locate the store in Gastown because that is where the duo founded their handbag manufacturing and retailing company. The two also like the area’s demographics.

All these developments prompted retail analyst and Retail Insider Media owner Craig Patterson to say Gastown is basking in a “cool moment.”

He added that the area benefits from heritage architecture, an overall historical aesthetic, decent foot traffic, lots of tourists and rents that aren’t as high as in some other parts of the downtown.

“Having the Downtown Eastside nearby doesn’t help but that’s a whole different story,” he said. •

gkorstrom@biv.com
@GlenKorstrom

Read full article here: https://www.biv.com/article/2017/4/vancouvers-gastown-enjoys-retail-renaissance/


Restaurant review: El Santo freshens up with savoury Mexican flavours in New Westminster

January 11th, 2017

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El Santo

680 Columbia St. | 604-553-1849

Open: Sunday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.;

Hungry for fresh Mexican fare but don’t have the time to board a plane bound down south?

Well, you may want to consider making a stop at El Santo, a contemporary New Westminster eatery that serves up authentic food at a fair price point.

Located along the historic waterfront district, El Santo is an eatery fed by a mission. And that mission is to change the way people think about Mexican cuisine.

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The Enchiladas Flor de Jamaica, $18, at El Santo.

“For me, it’s really important to show people that Mexican food is more than just tacos and enchiladas,” El Santo owner Alejandro Diaz explains.

Diaz says his goal is to make Mexican food synonymous with fresh.

“It’s time to show people the contemporary side of Mexican food,” he says.
Diners looking for the swimming-in-sauce-and-cheese appeal of some Mexican eateries may find themselves disappointed. While El Santo certainly serves up dishes featuring deliciously fresh and gooey cheeses (all sourced from Burnaby’s Scardillo Cheese), the first lesson diners learn upon glancing at the menu is that real Mexican cuisine uses cheese sparingly.

“A lot of food, when you’re actually in Mexico, does not contain cheese,” Chef Shane King, who has been with the establishment since it opened in December 2015, explains. “That is more of a Tex-Mex thing with burritos and nachos. So, there isn’t a lot of cheese in a lot of our items.”
El Santo’s few dishes that do feature cheese — such as the shareable Queso Fundido ($10), a bubbling mini skillet featuring poblano peppers, caramelized onions and tomato, served with a side of fresh tortillas — include traditional options such as Oaxaca and Cotija cheese.

But while the El Santo menu is light on queso, it’s heavy on locally sourced ingredients.

“All of our proteins are locally sourced,” King says. The menu boasts Farmcrest chicken in its Tinga de Pollo (petite tacos featuring slow-roasted chicken, house-made chorizo, cheese and pickled onion for $9), and King says most of their specialty meats are sourced from Two Rivers. The local love doesn’t stop at the meats.

“Throughout the spring, summer and into early autumn, we visit as many local farm markets as possible and all of our vegetables during that time come from local suppliers,” King explains. “And all of our micro-herbs come from local suppliers.”

The Churros at El Santo in New Westminster.

King says some traditional Mexican ingredients present a problem for sourcing locally. And for those, they head straight to the source.

“All of our dried chilis come directly from Mexico,” King says. “We have local suppliers that deal solely with Mexican ingredients of the highest quality.”

The quality and attention to detail comes across in El Santo’s dishes, which are plated in an unfussy manner — and many come in a shareable size.

“Nothing here that is put on a plate comes from a bucket or a jar,” Kings says. “Everything is made in-house, as close to the traditional way as we can.”

That includes the delectable salsas, which King says are all made the old-fashioned way: by dry roasting the ingredients. It’s also the most time-consuming way.

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The bar at El Santo in New Westminster. Credit: Foodie Photography [PNG Merlin Archive]“I don’t believe in shortcuts,” King says. “I do believe in keeping to the more traditional way of cooking because that’s how I feel you find the true flavour of Mexican cuisine.”

That attention to detail can be enjoyed in the shareable Trio of Salsas ($8), which features a heaping bowl of house-made tortilla chips with three salsas: roasted tomatillo and guajillo, salsa verde and salsa roja.

The salsas were fresh and delicious, with mild, medium and hot options. The salsa roja was the table favourite, boasting a rich base of tomatoes that balanced the moderate spice and left our dinner party fighting for the final crispy tortilla chip to scoop up the red sauce.

Passing on the popular Pescado a la Veracruzana ($28), a whole Westcoast rockfish served with Spanish-style olives and capers, our table opted for the Enchiladas Flor de Jamaica ($18), which offered the opportunity to taste an unexpected ingredient: Hibiscus flowers.

The vegetarian dish — El Santo offers 10 veg-friendly items on its regular menu and at least one on its ever-changing seasonal list — was mild and delicious, with a nice crunch thanks to slices of carrot and cabbage.

As for dessert, we tried the churros, deep-fried sticks of dough coated with cinnamon and sugar and served with a small dollop of dulce de leche. Despite a shared sweet tooth, our table found the soft sticks of sweet dough lacked a satisfying crunch.

Next time, we’ll skip the dessert in favour of ordering an extra helping of chips and fresh salsa.

Aharris@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/Aleesha_H

Read the full article here: http://vancouversun.com/life/food/local-food-reviews/restaurant-review-el-santo-freshens-up-with-savoury-mexican-flavours-in-new-westminster


2016 UDI Awards of Excellence Winners

November 24th, 2016

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On Wednesday November 23rd the real estate industry came together at the UDI Gala where the best new developments from across the province were showcased. Over 700 people were in attendance to witness the presentations of the coveted trophies.

The UDI received a record number of project nominations this year, and a panel of expert judges were tasked with selecting the winners. The judges evaluated the projects by their innovative design, integration with the surrounding community, marketing success, and sustainability features.

We are pleased that Trapp+Holbrook won the “heritage” category as well as was runner up in the suburban high rise residential category. Click here for more information on this project.

http://udi.bc.ca/sites/default/files/news/files/WINNERS%20AND%20FINALISTS%20AWARDS%202016%20(005).pdf


2016 Doing Business in New Westminster Magazine

March 7th, 2016

Magazine Cover Photo


El Santo brings new vibe, optimism to Columbia Street

January 5th, 2016

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Alejandro Diaz is so committed to creating a new vibe on Columbia Street, he hired a crane to help install a 1000-pound tortilla maker in his new restaurant, El Santo.

He could have just imported tortillas or sourced them from a supplier, said Diaz, but it’s details like freshly-made tortillas that will set his new venture apart, and solidify New Westminster’s growing reputation in foodie circles.

Read more about El Santo here


Tallest Wood Office Building

November 18th, 2015

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Developer Plans to Build a Seven-Story, Wooden Office Building in Downtown Minneapolis. For the past 100 years, virtually all buildings over a few stories tall have been constructed out of concrete and steel. But some architects and builders are promoting an alternative they are positioning as environmentally friendlier: good old-fashioned wood. Read this article from the Wall Street Journal to find out more about plans to build a seven-story, wooden office building in Minneapolis near one of the city’s light-rail lines in an increasingly popular district downtown. Hines is calling the project T3, for timber, technology and transit.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/towering-ambition-tallest-wood-office-building-deal-of-the-week-1415755448

VIA @#WSJ


A Tree-Shaped Escape Tucked Away Somewhere In The Wilds

November 17th, 2015

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We’re digging these beautifully imagined single pole, zero-waste, solar panel-clad “Primeval Symbiosis” homes designed by Danish architect Konrad Wójcik. While he was still a student, they were his vision for sustainable living outside urban areas. The tree-like design features accommodations for two on four levels with a bio-digester to deal with waste and a ground-connected heat pump to warm the entirety. Based on some of Wójcik’s visualisations, we can easily imagine one (or a series) of these structures recessed away on any wooded property pretty much anywhere in rural BC, particularly on slopes where they’d blend in with the coniferous canopy.

Read more VIA@#Scout here: http://scoutmagazine.ca/2015/11/16/cool-thing-we-want-473-a-tree-shaped-escape-tucked-away-somewhere-in-the-wilds/