Long a high-end shopping destination, the granite-paved Mink Mile is also poised to become a hub for Toronto's growing luxury supermarket sector. Joining the much-publicized Eataly at the transformed base of the Manulife Centre, the Toronto-based McEwan grocer has now been announced as an anchor tenant at One Bloor East

One Bloor East, Toronto, by Great Gulf, First Capital, Hariri PontariniOne Bloor East, image by UT Forum contributor Benito

Set to open late next year, the decidedly upscale grocery store will take over an 18,000 ft² space, as reported by Retail Insider. Located in the underground 'concourse level,' McEwan will be accessible via a street-level entrance near Yonge and Hayden, at the southwest end of the retail podium.

The high-end grocer will be joined by Canada's first Nordstrom Rack outlet, which will span 38,000 ft² across two levels. The clothing store will have an 8,870 ft² presence at street level, with the bulk of the floor area on the second floor. Like McEwan, Nordstrom Rack is scheduled to open in 2018, albeit much earlier in the year. 

One Bloor East, Toronto, by Great Gulf, First Capital, Hariri PontariniA rendering of the podium levels, image via First Capital Realty

Mark McEwan's relatively high-profile brand—which already has three locations throughout Toronto—adds a second anchor tenant to One Bloor East's 85,000 ft² retail podium, which is owned by First Capital Realty. First Capital purchased the podium at the base of Great Gulf's Hariri Pontarini-designed tower in mid-2016, with additional tenancies now being negotiated as work on the podium levels continues. 

One Bloor East, Toronto, by Great Gulf, First Capital, Hariri PontariniThe lower levels in mid-June, image by UT Forum contributor Benito

As marquee malls like Yorkdale and the Eaton Centre expand their offerings and focus on improving quality of space—to adapt to the changing market conditions prompted by online shopping—to become more attractive destinations, Bloor Street's urban retail context is also evolving.

Just east of One Bloor, the retail space at the foot of the former Xerox building at 33 Bloor Street East is proposed to be retrofitted as a more engaging—and high-end—destination, with CBRE currently working to lease the street-level storefront.

The 33 Bloor East storefront, image via CBREThe 33 Bloor East storefront, image via CBRE

To the east, the much larger ongoing podium-level redevelopment of the Manulife Centre will create a similarly luxe new shopping environment—coming at the expense of the building's street-level architectural character. Anchoring the expanded complex, the 50,000 ft² Eataly food hall will likely prove the area's strongest exponent of experiential retail. 

The re-imagnied Manulife Centre, image via Manulife Real EstateThe re-imagnied Manulife Centre, image via Manulife Real Estate

Astutely—if inelegantly—described as "retailtainment," the Eataly chain combines grocery shopping with live music, cafés and bistros, tastings and culinary lessons. Characterized by high-end interiors, the global brand leverages its unique quality of space as a draw for shoppers, creating a fun and fancy environment that defines the food halls as much as the products on offer. 

Housed in the basement of what remains Toronto's tallest under-construction building, Mark McEwan's 18,000 ft² new supermarket will be no Eataly. Still, if the brand's Don Mills flagship is any indication of what's to come, we can expect a decidedly high-end space, somewhat akin to the nearby Pusateri's. According to a statement by First Capital COO Jordan Robins, "McEwan’s commitment to our centre reaffirms One Bloor East as the shopping and dining destination of choice in the city."

One Bloor East, Toronto, by Great Gulf, First Capital, Hariri PontariniStreet-Level work progresses at One Bloor East, image by Edward Skira

"Destination" is what stands out in Robins' statement—a word that arguably defines the evolution of the retail landscape more than any other. It's becoming as much about the draw of being there as it is the draw of the product. For stores, of course, the hope is that all of that will lead back to the register.   

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We will keep you updated as more information about the the podium levels of One Bloor East becomes available, and the retail spaces near their 2018 openings. In the meantime, you can learn more about the project via our Database. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join one of the conversations in our Forum.