The owner of Vancouver’s Friction bathhouse will not confirm that the tub is closed for business.
“We’re just renovating,” says Guy Nunes Vas, standing next to a sign reading “We’re closed” as a bailiff supervises the loading of mattresses, televisions and other materials into a van.
There are no signs of renovations inside on Oct 24, but there are a lot of packing cases.
The controversial Friction tub’s website also says it’s closed for renovations.
Xtra West had to go to the tub to contact Nunes Vas.
His cell number is now used by someone else and there is a default answering message at the tub number, nothing to indicate that it may be a business.
Former manager Mel Watson says he’s not surprised the bathhouse is seemingly defunct.
He says he resigned more than a month ago when he was owed $4,000 in wages.
He says Nunes Vas told him there were financial problems.
“He told me he owes Xtra West money, he owes the Westender money, rent, staff,” Watson says. “He’s been screwing everyone.”
Asked to comment on the allegation that he owes thousands of dollars, Nunes Vas just walked away.
The two-floor tub at 123 W Pender St officially opened its doors Jun 29, 2007 after more than a year in the works.
It boasts 10,000 square feet of space and has a total of 50 rooms, several locker rooms, a large steam room, a big shower facility, a big playroom with a sling and glory holes, a video room, snack bar and a gym.
Recently, the tub had changed its operational plan. It began offering mixed-gender nights.
Frequent postings on the craigslist.com personal sites led some cruisers to accuse Friction’s owners of putting the postings up themselves to drum up business.
Nunes Vas said in 2007 the delays in opening the tub were due to a variety of issues.
He pointed especially to the availability of tradespeople to do the work — a complaint that has been heard throughout the city since the awarding of the 2010 Olympics.
In November 2006, Nunes Vas said City Hall had been a sticking point earlier in the project with approvals, but that licensing issues were not to blame for delaying the bathhouse’s opening.
It’s not known at this point what Friction’s future might be.