A B.C. Supreme Court judge denied the operators of the high-end IVY Rosé Lounge in Vancouver’s Trump tower an injunction to stop their landlord from ending its lease.
Defendant TA F&B LP submitted evidence to Justice Gordon Weatherill during a May 20 hearing that the Las Vegas-style nightclub was a magnet for gangsters and frequently violated public health orders meant to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Ivy Lounge West Georgia LP signed a five-year deal with renewal options in December 2019 and has paid $512,229 to use the third-floor space, formerly known as Drai’s.
IVY, which includes a pool and patio, opened for private parties in February 2020 and went full-service on March 9, 2020, just two days before the global pandemic was declared.
IVY reopened in August 2020 after spending $83,000 on equipment, fixtures and additional staff to meet pandemic protocols. But, within the first week, a customer tested positive for the disease and it was closed again for three weeks by Vancouver Coastal Health.
The court heard that since June 2020, there had been 43 police calls to the bar: two involving weapons, 32 Barwatch checks and ejections, four public health order violations, two assaults, two fights/disturbances and one breach of the peace. IVY had also been fined $2,300 for allowing more than six patrons at a table and had installed hidden cameras to alert staff of police and liquor inspectors.
The lounge shut down Feb. 25, 2021 after a meeting between the Vancouver Police Department and the landlord. On the same day, IVY posted a “temporarily closed” message on its Instagram account, saying it had technical issues with its commercial kitchen. It also claimed in a March 4 post that building water damage and kitchen equipment issues meant closure until early or mid-March.
The establishment became a “preferred destination for gang members and people involved in organized crime,” according to the court document. A customer of the lounge not named in Weatherill’s judgment had been killed in a targeted shooting a month after being ejected from IVY.
“Despite numerous conversations and warnings, operators of the IVY Rosé Lounge continue to host a criminal element including known gang members and their associates in their establishment as well as ignore the provincial health order repeatedly,” said a Feb. 25 email from the VPD quoted by Weatherill.
Said Weatherill: “It takes no more than a modicum of common sense to recognize that the plaintiff’s ongoing, repeated, and flagrant disregard of public health orders, liquor restrictions, as well as its apparent indifference (to put it at its most generous) towards the clientele it allowed to frequent the licensed area would negatively affect the reputation of the property and the hotel.”
Landlord TA demanded and received $53,000 in rent on March 15 for part of February and all of March. Ten days later the lease was cancelled due to the sheer volume of police incidents and regulatory violations since August 2020.
A related company, TA Hotel Management LP, filed for bankruptcy in August 2020, blaming the pandemic-caused closure of the hotel. The complex is owned by a Malaysian family, but has a licence to use the Trump name. Donald Trump Jr. and brother Eric appeared at the grand opening in early 2017.
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