Yes, seems weird timing! Not only are escape rooms somewhat passe but are hardy likely to do well in a pandemic!
The amount of empty flagship retail on Bloor and Yorkville is really quite something (110 Bloor, 100 Bloor, 83 Bloor, 19 Bloor, 94 Cumberland, 111 -113 Yorkville, the old Anthropologie space and if they leave the Club Monaco space, a few empty spots at the Colonnade, William Ashley's old spot at Manulife). That's probably 200k square feet of what was prime retail vacant. I'm interested if Oxford is able to lease the Park Hyatt and if One Bloor has anything interesting beyond Apple... Otherwise it feels like Yorkdale will continue to eat Bloor's lunch.
A bunch of that is just down to First Capital’s vision for the neighbourhood as opposed to indicative of any broader trend. They are (and have been) extremely choosy with respect to tenants, and have turned down interest from many retailers whom they thought weren’t sufficiently upmarket. And for some of the spaces you mention, they have been in detailed negotiations with potential tenants As it pertains to fit-out and renovations.
Correct. I was told that when I was hired as part of the first crop of employees when the store opened in April 1996, and I was an undergrad at U of T at the time. Used to hold the Household Sciences facility. Some fun facts about the place:
- the former CMX section at the lower level was a swimming pool
- Club Monaco tried to get the top floor for offices/store expansion for years but it was apparently prohibitively expensive to renovate
- they spent years and a ton of money for an elevator between floors but in the three years I worked there it was never operational
- a restaurant/bar was supposed to go in the bottom, with the entrance being a staircase facing Queen's Park Crescent, but I don't think anything came of it. I worked the stockroom and there were several anterooms in the basement/sub-basement (the place was a labyrinth) that were emptied out in preparation for it but I don't think Club Monaco/Mimran could make it work
- speaking of Mimran...hoo boy some stories I can tell of after-hours client events....