A month after one of Lynn Valley Village’s longtime businesses prepared to say Namaste to its North Shore customers, locals are back to their sun salutations.
Yyoga Northshore Elements and the District of North Vancouver announced they have signed a new lease agreement that will allow the anchor tenant to stay.
The good news comes just a month after the longstanding yoga business told clients it would be closing its doors – putting the blame on its landlord, the District of North Vancouver.
COVID-19 restrictions had dealt a harsh blow to the business, requiring the yoga studio to close for eight of 16 months during the pandemic. The rest of the time, the studio had to operate with reduced capacity.
Founder Terry McBride told the North Shore News last month that had left the business $100,000 in arrears on rent to the municipality.
In the case of the North Shore location, one of the additional problems during the pandemic was that rent paid to governments was not eligible for rent-relief programs offered by Ottawa to cash-strapped businesses.
Earlier negotiations to have the district forgive a portion of the rent owing had also been unsuccessful.
A public outcry followed the announcement that Yyoga intended to close.
But following a corporate restructuring proposal approved by both creditors and the courts, the yoga studio is back in business.
McBride said in a press release he’s happy to continue in the Lynn Valley studio location and grateful to the municipal staff and council, “who have partnered with us on a new lease that has meant our space can continue to operate.”
In a statement, District of North Vancouver Mayor Mike Little said he’s pleased to have reached an agreement that allows the yoga studio to remain in the community, saying the deal “balances our obligation to taxpayers with providing fair, equitable support to Yyoga that aligns with the support we’ve provided to other businesses across the district.”
No details of the deal or new lease struck with the district were available.
Earlier this summer, the yoga company was forced to close some of its other studio locations and seek creditor protection while the company negotiated forgiveness of COVID-related rent arrears with landlords.
Now, under a court-approved proposal, the Yyoga company – which owed approximately $3.5 million – has struck a deal with creditors, including the District of North Vancouver, to pay back a portion of the money owing while also raising cash from investors through equity financing, according to court documents.
Neither McBride nor the District of North Vancouver were willing to comment on their new lease arrangement.
But Robin Delany, owner of Delany’s Coffee House that also has a coffee shop in the Lynn Valley location, said he’s delighted that the yoga studio is staying. “It’s certainly good for our business and I wish them all kinds of success,” he said.
The success of every business impacts all the others, he added.
“If any of the tenants quit or don’t carry on business, it’s going to have repercussions for each and every one of us.”
Delany said the pandemic has been hard on business. “It’s getting better but it’s still not where it was,” he said.
So far, all the district has offered to businesses like his is a deferral on paying back the rent owed, he said.
“I would have preferred they would do what any other reasonable landlord would do and make more reasonable concessions,” he said. “I’m hopeful that’s going to change.”