05/27/2013 11:22 EDT | Updated 07/27/2013 05:12 EDT

Rent hike forces closure of Commercial Drive eatery

A popular child-friendly restaurant on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive could soon be closing its doors because of a recent rent increase.

Mary MacIntyre has run Little Nest Eatery for six years.

"I started off wanting a place that served good coffee and good food,” she said. "And then I was a parent and I wanted to make it kid-friendly for my own purposes."

But MacIntyre plans to close up shop in July after the restaurant rent’s was recently hiked by $2,000 a month.

"It means we need to close because we won't really make a profit and we could go into a hole."

While the Drive remains busy and vibrant, MacIntyre says independent entrepreneurs like herself are being priced out.

"What we're going to be seeing are more empty spaces and more chains because those are the one who can afford high rents."

She worries the neighbourhood will change if other businesses suffer the same fate.

“This is a broader issue for Commercial Drive and I think for Vancouver,” MacIntyre said.

“We have a lot of people who are concerned about social housing which is primary, I think, when it comes to rents, but ... the issues we're having with commercial leases are far more visible and I think it really ... changes the fabric of the community.”

MacIntyre is now calling for tougher commercial rent regulations to prevent other businesses from facing similar situations.