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Proposed Chinatown development could preserve some historical elements

(Stephanie Froese, NEWS 1130 Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Neighbours in Vancouver’s Chinatown are getting a chance to have their say on another development in the area.

An open house is being held today into a 15 storey, mixed-use retail and condominium project proposed for the corner of Main and Union.

The location is home to The Brickhouse Late Nite Bistro and Bar, the Creekside Residence and at, one time, the Jimi Hendrix Shrine.

Bonnis Development Corporation says it plans to preserve some elements of those landmarks.

“Our intention is to take down the Brickhouse but re-use and re-purpose the bricks from the facade,” says Kerry Bonnis with the developer.

“[It wouldn’t] be a Disneyland recreation of it, but would pay homage to the history of the site and the area.”

The site is best known as the former home of Vie’s Chicken and Steak House, where Jimi Hendrix’s grandmother Nora worked as a cook.

The restaurant was part of Hogan’s Alley, a once-vibrant African-Canadian community that largely disappeared after the construction of the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts in the early 1970s.

Bonnis wants the development to reflect that heritage too.

“It has yet to be determined exactly,” Bonnis admits.

“But, we’re going to definitely make sure that the community is recognized and commemorated there. Ideally, we’d even like to see a Jimi Hendrix statue.”

Bonnis adds there are also plans to replace the social housing units in the Creekside Residence in the new development as a gift to the City.

“It’s a very strong community there and we need to be sensitive to it as developers,” Bonnis explains. “That’s why we’ve been working diligently to try to see how we can make this project viable [while we] participate and build communities.”

Today’s open house is on from 5:15 to 7:45 p.m. at the TELUS World of Science.