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International Sausage House to close following legal battle

Anyone who has wandered up Gilmore Avenue from Lougheed Highway has probably encountered the scent of mouth-watering sausages and smoked meats wafting through the air.

Anyone who has wandered up Gilmore Avenue from Lougheed Highway has probably encountered the scent of mouth-watering sausages and smoked meats wafting through the air.

That smell has emanated from the International Sausage House at Gilmore Avenue and Halifax Street for years, but it will soon be no more.

Staff at the shop confirmed the store will be closing this September. The NOW spoke with a man who identified himself as the owner and gave his name as Peter, but he refused to speak about the closure.

A photo of a closure notice was posted to Twitter by @TFAtweets, whose profile states he is a cook in Vancouver.

“It is with great sadness that we have to announce that as a result of a recent court decision we are no longer able to sustain our business, despite best efforts to do so, and we will be closing down our operations,” the notice stated. “Thank you for all your support over the years. We would not have been here all these years without your loyal and continuous patronage.”

The notice also states that the business has 40 employees, which a recent letter writer also told the NOW.

“As a regular customer of International Sausage on Gilmore Street, I am saddened to hear the news of them closing down this September,” Greg Swannie wrote in a letter to the editor. “About 40 employees are losing their livelihood due to the land being developed into a high rise.”

The shop was at the centre of a legal dispute regarding the length of the lease, and whether or not Peter Karwowski, who owns International Sausage House Ltd. and whose parents owned a third of the property it’s on, had the right of first refusal to purchase the property.

The other two owners, the Hammer family (represented by Charl and Harvey Hammer, executors of the will of Leon Hammer) and Rudolph Gutfreund, had agreed to sell their interests in the property to Millennium Development Group. The developer wished to purchase it as part of a package of properties for its highrise development.

In a July 3 decision, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kelleher found that the 2007 lease to the shop was not renewed and expired on June 30, 2012, and that there was no right of first refusal. In his decision, he stated that Karwowski was liable for interference with economic relations, and found in favour of Millennium Development Group in the ruling, assessing the damages owed to Millennium as $2.2 million.

He also found in favour of the Hammer family and Gutfreund regarding damages for slander of title, consisting of interest on the net proceeds of the sale (which was $2.3 million) at a rate of five percent per year since March 29, 2013, according to the judgement.

Kelleher also found that the shop should have been paying a higher rent rate from July 2012 to June 2015 as the lease had expired, meaning Karwowski would owe the Hammers and Gutfreund $19,446 each for that time period.

The dispute stalled Millennium’s plans for the site, which included a proposal for a 46-storey highrise tower with a three-story townhouse podium facing Halifax Street, and a two-storey podium with amenities for the residents, including a rooftop pool.

Millennium Development has developed other highrises in the city, including One University Crescent at UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain. The award-winning company also designed and built the Olympic Village community in Vancouver.

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