Commercial Drive is a vibrant multicultural street in East Vancouver featuring a varied selection of restaurants, bars and cafes.
The area is colloquially known as The Drive and is a magnet for tourists, given that it contains 300 merchants and is home to a variety of music and theatre venues.
With working from home becoming more common due to the pandemic, this is one area that’s likely to have some life in it even with the current situation.
There’s a strong Italian and Portuguese influence from communities dating from the 1950s, while the area has welcomed immigrants from Latin America, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Middle East – contributing to the lively atmosphere.
Travel guide Lonely Planet named Commercial Drive as one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods in 2017.
Properties and Architecture
Some of the buildings in the area were constructed in the early 1900s for Canadian Pacific Railway workers, which are typically single detached homes.
Along with the older properties the area is seeing the construction of townhouses and condos.
This mix of old and new architecture has contributed to The Drive being a popular location for the Vancouver film industry.
Grandview Woodland Community Plan
The majority of Commercial Drive is in the Grandview Woodland Community Plan, which outlines upcoming developments in the area.
The plan is to retain the area’s character by building properties of four stories or less in the core areas of The Drive – on larger streets outside of the core up to six stories.
Community facilities like the Kettle Friendship Centre and Britannia Community Centre will be renewed and expanded.
The area is well connected by the Commercial-Broadway Skytrain station, which straddles two train routes.
The Expo Line leads you to the heart of downtown Vancouver to the North West, while if you head the opposite direction you’ll find yourself in neighbouring cities Burnaby and then Surrey.
The station is also on the Millennium Line, which heads almost directly East to Burnaby and Coquitlam.
At the heart of Commercial Drive is Little Italy, which contains Italian inspired espresso bars, wood-fired pizza, and gelato.
Every year (apart from this one) the area features Italian Day on The Drive!, a street festival which invites merchants, vendors and 150 street performers. It attracts 300,000 attendees and takes place in June.
Restaurants and Bars
Aside from Italian, the area offers a variety of cuisines. You can go to Riddim & Spice for Jamaican Food or Rinconcito Salvadoreno for Salvadoran food. There’s also restaurants serving Nepalese, Mexican and Indian cuisine.
The area is well-stocked for those who need a lunchtime coffee to get them through the workday, with Turks Coffee Bar being one of many options.
It’s also ideal for beer drinkers, as popular craft beer companies in the area include Strange Fellows Brewing.
The highly anticipated restaurant Lunch Lady is also slated to meet the neighbourhood with a Vietnamese street food menu once popularized by Anthony Bourdain.
Film and Theatre
Film goers can view both mainstream and arthouse films at The Rio Theatre, while it also hosts improve, live music and burlesque.
Meanwhile York Theatre, The Cultch offers indie drama and dance.
Anyone will tell you that working from home is easier when there’s lots of green space around.
At the south end of the neighbourhood is John Hendry Park, which surrounds Trout Lake. This contains amenities including biking trails and tennis courts.
Further north you’ll find Grandview Park, which is home to a farmer’s market from May to October.
The Commercial Drive strip is proving more and more popular for the younger buyer who look for the lifestyle the area offers. This popularity fuels the demand for homes with land, where buyers need to budget at least $1.65M to purchase a house with renovation allowance.
A more affordable option without the need for major updating work are duplexes, which the area offers much more options within this budget. However, one does need to take into account that some of these homes are the rear portion of the building. There are also plenty of options for a modest sized townhouse or larger 2 bedroom condo, depending on the location and age of the home.
Most detached homes in this area are 90 to 110 years old listed without significant renovations or updates. The average list price currently is $1.56M across 13 active listings.
For attached homes, the average list prices are $1.52M for duplexes, $1.07M for townhomes, and $571k for condos. Most of the newer units are available as duplexes and townhomes style homes within less than 10 years old.
The duplexes are generally available as front and back style duplex as opposed to side-by-side.
Townhomes are more recently introduced to the area with 3 out of 4 listings less than 5 years old if you are looking for something newer. They come in all sizes from 1 bedrooms to 4 bedrooms.
For current information about the homes available on the market in the area, please do contact me at [email protected] or your Realtor.