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Zagat-rated Restaurant Matisse shuttered as pot-shop operator seeks to open licensed dispensary

Restaurant Matisse, having operated out of its lower Yates Street location since the late 1990's, has been forced to close, say its owners. The retail space will become the City of Victoria's first sanctioned marijuana dispensary if an active rezoning application currently before the municipality is approved. Citified.ca

Zagat-rated Restaurant Matisse shuttered as pot-shop operator seeks to open licensed dispensary
MIKE KOZAKOWSKI, CITIFIED.CA
A Zagat-rated downtown Victoria restaurant has closed after nearly two decades in business due to what its operators are calling a forced situation.
 
Restaurant Matisse, a cornerstone of the lower Yates commercial district, opened at 512 Yates Street in 1998 and quickly became one of the Capital City’s top dining experiences. Having garnered praise and accolades from professional foodies to restaurant rating websites and blogs like Trip Advisor, Yelp, Zomato and the highly coveted Zagat restaurant rating organization, Matisse was considered by many as one of Victoria's fine-dining gems.
 
In a public statement released online, owner John Phillips attributes his restaurant's sudden closoure to the landlord’s “increased rent demands and management fees,” which “forced” his hand. Tenancy negotiations, the statement says, had been on-going on for a year.
 
Although now shuttered, the restaurant space will not remain empty for long if a rezoning proposal currently before Victoria councillors receives approval.
 
The City of Victoria’s first marijuana dispensary rezoning application tied to the restaurant’s address will go before council next week in the hopes that politicians will sanction the first legal pot-shop in the downtown core.
 
Rezoning applicant and building owner CDC Properties, a Vancouver-based real-estate development and investment firm, describes its 510-512 Yates Street holdings as having the “sought after location of being downtown and waterfront, “ideal for families,” and benefiting from “a large selection of restaurants, pubs and entertainment.”
 
Late last year CDC caught the attention of City of Victoria councillors after it was revealed the company had plans to evict residents from a long-term lodging motel it owns and operates on upper Douglas Street. CDC eventually backtracked on those plans and residents were permitted to remain in-place while CDC pursues a zoning change from transient to residential usage.
 
As for the future of Restaurant Matisse, Phillips hopes to secure a new location for his restaurant, although no definitive relocation plan has been confirmed. C

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