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Grade level retail among condos and new buildings

AlbertC

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As the development boom in Toronto and GTA approaches approximately 2 decades now, one of the more common challenges and areas of focus is how the new building meets the street and whether it's able to replace or produce an engaging streetscape.

Several of the early boom projects in the 2000's have left us with some serious duds like the ones along the Bay corridor scattered between Charles to Dundas. There's also the series of mid-rises built by Pemberton along Queen East in the Beaches area that span multiple consecutive blocks. That stretch remains a notable dead zone and IMO is particularly unforgivable. There's also various ones around the city such as IT Lofts at College & Rusholme which still has yet secure a single tenant years after completion.

On the other hand, there are some notable success stories. I'd consider the Grand Triomphe development in NYCC, which spans along Yonge Street from Byng all the way to the cemetery before Church Ave, to be the greatest example in the city. Altogether there must be around 30 businesses at grade level, which includes ones along the side street Byng, and the cul-de-sac type spaces on Northtown Way. Worth noting though, that majority of these business are Asian (Korean, Chinese, Japanese) eateries, which have a tradition of entrepreneurial resourcefulness in smaller retail spaces and formats.

Some others that come to mind are Five St. Joseph, apart from the restored buildings along Yonge, they also make use of the ones along St. Joseph and even the St. Nicholas laneway now that Bar Volo has opened. Further examples include B.Street condos on Bathurst south of Bloor, along with other examples in Yorkville and King West.
 
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AlbertC

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Similar to the IT Lofts on College, there's a couple examples of new buildings on Dundas West that have underachieved in terms of drawing in retailers since being completed. Nero Condos at Dundas W and Manning still has all of its grade level retail units vacant from what I recall last time was in the area. While further west, Alto Rentals at Dundas W and Sheridan finally got its first retail tenant recently, a restaurant called "The Good Fork" which from Bloor West.

Both buildings are relatively new and built within the last 2 or 3 years. They didnt replace any existing buildings with shops or store fronts. However, they're unable to draw in substantial interest to provide engaging new spaces along the streetscape, in what is a trendy area with fairly vibrant retail mix. I imagine rent prices and space configuration to be an issue, as many of these units could be expensive and larger sizes that may not be suitable for particular prospective tenants.

It makes me wonder what is the future for areas further west like the Junction, and whether similar challenges will be encountered. There's a new development on the horizon for Dundas W and Pacific (west of Keele). DUKE Condos in the area is already completed, however the entire grade level is spanned by LCBO. Similar to how 1093 Queen has a Rexall for its entire base.
 

DSC

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I am not sure when it happened but in most recent Condo developments the developer retains ownership of the retail part of the building and it is not part of the Condo Corporation. In earlier Condos it was quite common for retail units to be sold and the retail Unit owners and the residential voters being the voters of the condo corporation. Not sure if this change makes it easier to attract 'desirable' retail or whether developers and large retail agents like CBRE really prefer to deal with larger corporations who may be better at paying rent on time?
 

AlbertC

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I am not sure when it happened but in most recent Condo developments the developer retains ownership of the retail part of the building and it is not part of the Condo Corporation. In earlier Condos it was quite common for retail units to be sold and the retail Unit owners and the residential voters being the voters of the condo corporation. Not sure if this change makes it easier to attract 'desirable' retail or whether developers and large retail agents like CBRE really prefer to deal with larger corporations who may be better at paying rent on time?
I've noticed that as well. Several of the newer developments at Yonge & Eglinton appear to have taken a similar approach and partner with retail agent firms in securing larger corporations like fitness centres, along with restaurant and supermarket chains.
 
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innsertnamehere

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There is of course the famous retail podium of Aura... lots of fun that one.

One Bloor East retail has turned out really good I would say. Nordstrom Rack is a unique offering in the city right now, McEwans is a great addition, as well as the other smaller tenants.

Other units in the King West area have some great tenants as well. Brant Park has Impact Kitchen, Fashion House has The Keg, Wilbur, and Her Majesty's Pleasure. King Portland has the three new restaurants open there. King Charlotte has Khao San Road. Pinnacle On The Adelaide has Figo, Sweet Jesus, and La Carnita. So on and so forth.

I genuinely don't understand the complaints of retail tenants in modern condo developments. The early 2000's builds did tend to attract some pretty poor tenants, but I would say that has improved a lot in the last decade. The tenants tend to be higher end tenants.. but that's the nature of new construction space.
 

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