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'Outrageous' rent increase drives gay bathhouse out of business

'Outrageous' rent increase drives gay bathhouse out of business

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Now sTeam collective left without venue
One of Vancouver’s three gay bathhouses has closed following what one manager describes as an “outrageous” rent increase on the Granville St basement property.

M2M’s August closure has left the promoters of a queer, all-gender bathhouse party without a venue.

“Partially as a result of that and some other factors, we’ve decided to shut down the sTeam parties,” says Pussy Liquor, one of the members of the sTeam Collective. “We just can’t find something that would be the same for the events we’re trying to host.”

Liquor says the collective is committed to full accessibility. As M2M was the only bathhouse with a wheelchair lift, the organization felt it couldn’t continue in another venue.

The sTeam parties had been running quarterly since May 2011 and attracted up to 60 people.

“It was also a venue where they were able to split the take at the door for us, instead of us having to put up hundreds of dollars up front to rent the venue,” Liquor says.

Petar Pavlovic, the former manager of M2M, says the bathhouse faced a steep increase in rent and no growth in the business, which made continuing the operation untenable.

“The business was pretty much flat in past couple of years. Our lease had expired in August and unfortunately we couldn’t renegotiate with the landlord,” he says.

The landlord had asked for a more than 18 percent rent increase, Pavlovic says.

The landlord did not pick up the phone when called.

Another factor was the rise in online cruising apps like Grindr and Squirt, which may be keeping people away from bathhouses. “Nowadays there’s lots of people online, so there’s no room for three steambaths [in Vancouver],” Pavlovic says. “If rent was reasonable and business was a little bit stronger that would still be okay. It was a hard decision, but you know how it’s like.”

Pavlovic still co-owns the F212 bathhouse on Davie St, which is owned by the same company that operated M2M.

The manager at Steamworks Vancouver says he couldn’t say whether or not he’s noticed a bump in business since M2M closed, citing trade secrets.

On Tuesday, Sept 11, the former M2M was empty and its doors unlocked. Partitions and fixtures had been stripped from the walls. Power tools and sawdust lay on the bare cement floors. A single discarded mattress lay next to the dumpster in the back alley. No one appeared to be on site.

A sign was posted on the entrance to M2M that reads, “We would like to express our sincere thank you for your support and patronage over the past 10 years. Times are changing and with much regret we will be closing this location on Monday, August 20, 2012 at 8am in the morning.”


Comments

out on screen big theatre help
Unfortunately there is no anonymous feedback for out on screen. As we all know the Granville 7 has closed. Can you pass a message to out on screen that perhaps they should consider not a movie theatre but The QE and install a projector, The River Rock has a huge event - don't know how many seat, but since it is only opening night that there may be other venues that might work during these hard times, maybe UBC.
Steamworks ?
If I were the owner(s) of Steamworks, I'd lease this space to be closer to the Village.
Shrinking community?
The Dufferin, Royal Hotel, Odyessey, M2M, all were members of our gay community. Now they are not. These establishments provided employment and stabiltiy for it's gay members. Now they don't. Remember the days when you could go to a gay pub and enjoy a beer with your community? Is the gay community growing or shrinking in this town?
New Homes
Where will the bedbugs find a new home? That place was known for having nonpaying guests.
outragous rent
Actually 18% over 10 years isn't bad. A friend of mine just signed a new agreement with the city for his store on Granville St at 22%. Granville St has changed a lot over the last 10 years. They will have no problem renting the space to a nightclub.
M2M steam
It seams every time a bathhouse lets women in, they die. remember Friction? How can you allow females at a club called male to male? Which steam bath will be stupid enough to try it next?
Editor's Note
Thanks for your note, xxoo! You're right: Petar is the co-owner of F212, not the manager. I have corrected the story.
The Manager is ?
Roland is the manager of F212 Davie street - NOT Petar.
Times change
One line in this article says it all: (quote) Another factor was the rise in online cruising apps like Grindr and Squirt, which may be keeping people away from bathhouses (end of quote). The typewriter was replaced by the personal computer. Sleazy porn theatres in the 1970s were replaced by VHS tapes, then DVDs and now online porn. I think bathhouses are being replaced by Grindr and other online hookups. Times change and progress occurs.
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