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Toronto non-mall retail (Odds & Ends)

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AlbertC

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'The situation is grim': Toronto concert venues look to government funding for survival

Jul 27, 2020

The president of the Canadian Live Music Association, Erin Benjamin, says the live music industry is being challenged in a way it's never been in its history.

"It's a catastrophe. We're losing venues by the day," she said.

According to the Canadian Independent Venue Coalition, which has launched an online campaign to support Canadian venues, without government support, more than 90 per cent of independent venues are at risk of shutting down forever.

Some have already closed, like the Orbit Room in Toronto, and the Starlight Social Club in Kitchener-Waterloo.

"The situation is grim," said Jeff Cohen, the owner of Toronto venues Lee's Palace and Horseshoe Tavern, as well as the Collective Concerts company.

He doesn't expect to be able to produce a concert until April or May of next year.

Cohen explained that venues are having to rely on the "kindness of landlords" and financial support from the government.

"We won't be able to survive without help," he said.

Canadian Heritage has set up a $500-million emergency fund to support organizations working in culture, heritage and sport, $20 million of which will go directly to the live music industry, according to an email sent by the department of Canadian Heritage to Radio-Canada.

It adds that the goal is to provide financial aid to for-profit festivals and venues that don't ordinarily receive federal funding through the Canada Music Fund for the first six months of the pandemic.

The department did acknowledge in its e-mail that after the initial funding announcement earlier this month, it did receive criticism from industry players who said that many live music industry entrepreneurs are not eligible for the program. However, Canadian Heritage said in the email that since then, the criteria has been adjusted accordingly.

Cohen hopes to qualify for the fund — as does Shaun Bowring, the owner of Toronto music venues Baby G and The Garrison, and the Transmit Presents promotion company.

"Right now our goal is to get to next March," Bowring said.

"We just want us all to be here ... So we've got to figure out the finances to do that."
 

AlbertC

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Bonne Nouvelle, a French bakery with Korean influences, has recently opened at 655 College St (near Grace St) in the Little Italy area:

 

AlbertC

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Montreal-based footwear brand, Maguire, have opened their first Toronto store location at 1514 Dundas St W (just west of Dufferin):

 

AlbertC

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As hundreds of stores shut down, retail landlords cut rents in bid to help struggling companies survive

Aug 2, 2020

Downtown Vancouver and Toronto, once hubs of activity with a giant office work force, are now mostly vacant. Street retailers in their cores that were once teeming with activity are much quieter.

“It’s pretty tough because there isn’t the volume of people coming downtown,” said Scott Lee, JLL’s executive vice-president of retail for Western Canada. “The domino effect is that people are not eating out much, not grabbing as much coffee and not shopping as much in general,” he said.

In Vancouver, at a popular shopping area on Robson Street, JLL said the vacancy rate is 15 per cent today compared with 9 per cent before the pandemic. Similarly, in Toronto, at a busy shopping area on Queen Street, vacancy jumped to its highest level in two years and rents hit the lowest since early 2016, when the brokerage started tracking rents.

“With more space coming available and fewer tenants in the market there will be downward pressure on net rental rates,” said Brandon Gorman, JLL’s senior vice-president of retail in Toronto, who represents landlords.

Mr. Gorman said tenants are looking for percentage rent deals that convert to a fixed rent at a later date, as well as later possession dates and rent-free periods.

 

Northern Light

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As hundreds of stores shut down, retail landlords cut rents in bid to help struggling companies survive

Aug 2, 2020

Downtown Vancouver and Toronto, once hubs of activity with a giant office work force, are now mostly vacant. Street retailers in their cores that were once teeming with activity are much quieter.

“It’s pretty tough because there isn’t the volume of people coming downtown,” said Scott Lee, JLL’s executive vice-president of retail for Western Canada. “The domino effect is that people are not eating out much, not grabbing as much coffee and not shopping as much in general,” he said.

In Vancouver, at a popular shopping area on Robson Street, JLL said the vacancy rate is 15 per cent today compared with 9 per cent before the pandemic. Similarly, in Toronto, at a busy shopping area on Queen Street, vacancy jumped to its highest level in two years and rents hit the lowest since early 2016, when the brokerage started tracking rents.

“With more space coming available and fewer tenants in the market there will be downward pressure on net rental rates,” said Brandon Gorman, JLL’s senior vice-president of retail in Toronto, who represents landlords.

Mr. Gorman said tenants are looking for percentage rent deals that convert to a fixed rent at a later date, as well as later possession dates and rent-free periods.

Many landlords were not prudent, either working w/the gov't program, cumbersome as it may have been; or otherwise cutting tenants some slack.

They now have vacant properties, with no incoming rent, and/or are finding they can only rent at a steep discount.

I'm not unsympathetic to small landlords that couldn't afford a big hit; but overall, a lot of short-term thinking has led to medium-term costs that are greater.
 

Richard White

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I have an associate trying to convince me to open a Cafe right now in Toronto.

I keep telling him that it is not practical given the ongoing pandemic. Rent may be cheap but the industry is unstable right now. It is too risky to open anything. He wanted to put up the capital and split the profit.

He was of the mindset that now is the perfect time to open a new business because rent is cheap.
 

SunriseChampion

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It's great times for lessees. My rent isn't being increased this year. That's unheard of in this town from a big landlord! Super stoked. I already missed the above-guideling increase due to extensive renovations last year.

I'm hoping falling rents allow some of my fav pubs that have recently closed (4 out of 5 :( ) to reopen as new fav pubs in same location.

There's an empty retail space in my building and I approached the landlord about opening a cafe bar there but he wasn't interested because noise and outsiders and there's no water in the unit (used to be a tuck shop). No water but he said he'd prefere a dentist's. Ummm.....ok

I tried. The rents in my building are down 20%. That retail space would be pennies on the dollar. I was planning on running it Thursday-Sunday evenings. I'd be able to pay for the measly rent on it easily and maybe make a small profit (which I didn't care about as I'd be doing it as a hobby and a community service).
 

AlbertC

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Crunch Fitness have permanently closed their gym at the 4th floor of the Aura building. This was also the location of Madonna's previous Hard Candy gym.

 

Richard White

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AlbertC

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AlbertC

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Ben McNally Books will be closing their store at 366 Bay St as the lease expires, and reopening temporarily at 317 Adelaide East while they continue to look for a new longterm location.

 

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