Screengrab from www.bikramyogarichmond.ca
Bikram Yoga at Lansdowne Centre has become the latest casualty of escalating property taxes as a result of skyrocketing land values from property rezonings in downtown Richmond.
“It is with heavy hearts we inform you that, effective immediately, Bikram Yoga Richmond will be closing its doors,” wrote Dave and Leah Groves in a message posted on Bikram’s website. “A change of land use on the Lansdowne site triggered an astronomical increase in property taxes making it impossible for us to continue operations in this facility.”
Bikram’s owners said they hired a lawyer to challenge the fact that Lansdowne was burdening tenants with the increase in property tax as a result of the planned rezoning and planned residential development. Within the next decade, the owners of Lansdowne plan to raze the mall, and build numerous residential towers on the site.
“In the end the negotiations did not go our way and we were unable to come to an agreement that was viable,” the owners wrote. “This is not the outcome we were hoping for and fought for but please know that we did everything within our power and available resources to achieve a different outcome.”
Even a relocation effort would not have worked, they wrote.
Other commercial buildings in Richmond are seeing similar property tax increases, which makes it “more and more challenging to run a small, independent business in this city.”
The yoga facility’s closure comes at “great cost to us, both financially and emotionally,” they said.
Are refunds a possibility?
“Although we are not in a position to offer refunds, we have worked very hard to connect with other studios in supporting our student community through this transition. Know that all memberships were sold in good faith,” they said.
The yoga community is supporting Bikram’s former members through this closure.
YYoga at its 12 locations is offering a one-month complimentary yoga to all studens with an active membership. The offer runs from Nov. 21 to Jan. 15, 2018.
Former Bikram Yoga locations outside of Richmond are honouring memberships, including the former Bikram Yoga Vancouver now known as Hot Yoga 101, as well as former Bikram Yoga South Delta now known as Yoga Union.
“It has been our absolute honour and priviledge to serve you for the past nine years in this location and five years in our previous location on Alexandra Street,” the Groves wrote. “We will deeply miss the community we have all built together.