The closure of popular music venue, The Habitat, may be a sign of things to come on one of Kelowna’s most infamous streets.
A BC Assessment search shows that the ownership of a number of buildings along Leon Avenue has shifted, with a large swath of the 200-block being sold between May and July to a numbered company out of North Vancouver.
Habitat, which is at 248 Leon Avenue sold May 31, alongside 264, 268, 266 Leon Avenue.
Nearby, Sapphire Lounge at 238 Leon Avenue also changed hands in July. Level Nightclub at 275 Leon Avenue has not been purchased. Also staying put is the Gospel Mission, which has had the same ownership since 1984.
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Calls to owners of both sold locations have gone unanswered, however the fate of the Habitat was made clear this month when two of the last bands to perform at the venue took to their Twitter to bid adieu to the venue’s owner, Quinn Best.
A look inside the building shows its contents have been boxed up, although there’s no indication of the lounge closing on its own website. Its last post only highlights that it received a CreativeBC grant for an expansion.
The new owner of all these buildings has yet to make any changes or even announce the purchases, however Ryan Smith the community planning manager of the City of Kelowna, has a theory about at least one change.
Kelowna may be witnessing the death of the nightclub.
Flashbacks is long gone and Habitat is closing. Level and Sapphire are still open, but the sale of the latter club’s building does put its future in question.
“It will be interesting to see what happens,” said Smith. “Those nightclubs have had challenges in the last few years. The craft beer industry is cutting into their business… things are changing in the liquor and entertainment industry, downtown.”
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