Yonge Sheppard Centre Renovations and Expansion | 123.13m | 35s | RioCan | Quadrangle

sunnyraytoronto

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Walk around the NYCC area,... go into some of the buildings and malls,... get away from streetlevel,.. go to lower concourse of Sheppard Centre to check out the empty "moat", both of them,.... retail space for lease sign been there like forever (its been so long since that GoldenGriddle then Keg then pub closed!). Check out lower level of Madision Centre,... Check out the lower level of North York City Centre,.. about 3/4 of the retail space is all boarded up! See how dead the upper levels at EmpressWalk are.

alklay,... Where do you go shopping? Do you do all your shopping exclusively at small tiny stores? Buy one item, line up and pay for it,... go to the next tiny store, buy another item, line up again and pay for it,... go to the next tiny store, buy another item, line up again and pay for it,... go to the next tiny store, buy another item, line up again and pay for it,...go to the next tiny store, buy another item, line up again and pay for it,... Wow, I wished I had that much free time! ;p

Large store are the anchors that draw shoppers into an area,.. whether it's a Walmart, Target, Ikea, CanadianTire, BestBuy, Toy-R-Us, BigBox stores (HomeDepot-Costco), Chapters or large supermarket grocer, etc,...

With 2 levels of retails at Hullmark Centre opening up soon and another 2 level of retail at EmeraldPark opening up likely late next year,... Do you think all this retail space will survive? Are you confusing Yonge&Sheppard for Yonge&Dundas??? Sheppard Centre knows it desperately need to renovate and reinvent itself with large brand name anchor stores to compete. A supermarket would be a quick fix,... but HullmarkCentre will have a WholesFood,... EmeraldPark will have a Metro,... can 3 supermarkets thrive at basically the 4 corners of Yonge & Sheppard??? (Where in Toronto do you even see 2 large supermarkets across the street from each other?) The anchors that SheppardCentre desperately needs will have to be something other than just a supermarket,... yeah, get ready for the price roll-back at Walmart!


If Sheppard Centre stays in it current mostly small stores format that consist mainly of numerous cell phone and cell phone accessories stores, bulk barn copycats, small leather good stores, shoe repair, video game store, small clothing stores, pant alteration, Dollar store, money-marts, small electronic stores, nail salon,.... it'll soon deteriorate to a flea market. Yeah,... flea-market. Walk around SheppardCentre,... that's exactly what the previous owner was letting happen,...
 

taal

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The stores in Tridel's development seem busy quite frequently, so "small stores" can indeed work. I also disagree with the general notion that the smaller retail isn't doing well simply due to the fact the retail spaces are small.

I think its simply really, there just isn't that much demand in NYCC, from local folks or workers. The area could likely absorb many more restaurants due to the large concentration of office space but other then that the car culture is still fairly predominant here and you don't see many locals shopping.

I agree big box retail would do better and is needed, but that's not going to take up all of the said space, rather it'll likely stay empty.
 
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NorthYorkEd

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Walk around the NYCC area,... go into some of the buildings and malls,... get away from streetlevel,.. go to lower concourse of Sheppard Centre to check out the empty "moat", both of them,.... retail space for lease sign been there like forever (its been so long since that GoldenGriddle then Keg then pub closed!). Check out lower level of Madision Centre,... Check out the lower level of North York City Centre,.. about 3/4 of the retail space is all boarded up! See how dead the upper levels at EmpressWalk are.
This is why I like hearing from people who have been living in this area for a long time, as opposed to upstarts like me who practically just walked off the boat. Had no idea there used to be a Keg, Golden Griddle, or pub at this spot, nor about the Metro that now lies buried beneath Hullmark :)

I think your points about having a larger and more varied type of retail would work in this area. The Dollarama at Empress is always busy, while the upper level of Staples is usually a ghost town. People clearly want to be more efficient with their shopping, as their armloads of various dollar goods attests. As much as I loathe Walmart and Target, I think they would be successful.

I struggle to understand why retail seems so stagnant around here despite a growing population. I'm hoping that the new condos bring in more urban-minded people who are attracted to local amenities and want to leave their cars at home. I think there is a trend towards that. I know this area has traditionally been suburban, but it now seems in a transition phase. Or maybe it's just me. We fled the suburbs for a more urbanized lifestyle, and I don't think we're the only ones moving in that direction.

I'm hitching my horse to the NYCC wagon as I think the area has a lot going for it. It provides enough of an urban kick with a dash of suburban comfort. And even though I am happily married, there are also lots of beautiful Asian women to admire :)

Does anyone else feel positive towards the future potential of this area? Or is it going down the tubes? Be interested in hearing from people who have watched it change over the years. Is anything better? Anything worse?
 

investican

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I wouldn't consider myself an expert on the area or a native. I've been living in NYCC on and off for the last 5 years. I've done a couple small infills in the area--

The problem with this area is that the retail sucks. The food places are excellent. Older storefronts don't allow so much flexibility in attracting good tenants. Parking sucks and everyone is car dependant. The new developments with retail provide shoeboxes (around 300 sqft) where they do have a couple nice cafes and works for dry cleaners and 'lil boutique shoppes but the amount of these independant places can't sustain here. Turnover on these places are rediculous. Empress isn't that large and the layout is quite odd in my opinion. The Lowblaws is nice and the concept is commemrable. I see Sheppard Centre having more potential to do something decent there.

I may be shunned for this but I would like to see the demographics/races/cultures expand. I would like to see more of a mix than a mix of Korean, Chinese and Iranians. Having a diverse community would attract better commercial tenants.
 

NorthYorkEd

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I may be shunned for this but I would like to see the demographics/races/cultures expand. I would like to see more of a mix than a mix of Korean, Chinese and Iranians. Having a diverse community would attract better commercial tenants.
I wouldn't shun you for that. I love the diversity in this area, but a more thorough mix would be nice.
 

uptownto

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Does anyone else feel positive towards the future potential of this area? Or is it going down the tubes? Be interested in hearing from people who have watched it change over the years. Is anything better? Anything worse?
Having lived here for about 7 years I still think it has great potential. Mainly because it has great 'bones' that are rare/valuable: subway access, close to 401, a great public square, great public schools, located about the geographic center of the GTA, great public library, great live theater venue, largest 416 employment node outside of downtown, plenty of government institutions (tdsb/tdcsb hqs, courts, federal offices, city offices, etc) to keep it relevant, walkable with very wide sidewalks in places. Most rental accommodations are of a higher quality (i.e. few old rental buildings, mostly new ones or condos) so the demographics will always be of higher means.

Architecture and fashion retail aside (definitely lacks in these), these are cosmetic things that can always come. Some of the above items aren't so easy to obtain in a community.

I do agree it's biggest threat is it becomes dominated by any one single ethnic group (i.e. becomes less diverse and turns into an ethnic ghetto). Right now it has a good mix, particularly closer to Sheppard. Hopefully it remains diverse and inclusive to all groups.
 

sunnyraytoronto

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This is why I like hearing from people who have been living in this area for a long time, as opposed to upstarts like me who practically just walked off the boat. Had no idea there used to be a Keg, Golden Griddle, or pub at this spot, nor about the Metro that now lies buried beneath Hullmark :)

I think your points about having a larger and more varied type of retail would work in this area. The Dollarama at Empress is always busy, while the upper level of Staples is usually a ghost town. People clearly want to be more efficient with their shopping, as their armloads of various dollar goods attests. As much as I loathe Walmart and Target, I think they would be successful.

I struggle to understand why retail seems so stagnant around here despite a growing population. I'm hoping that the new condos bring in more urban-minded people who are attracted to local amenities and want to leave their cars at home. I think there is a trend towards that. I know this area has traditionally been suburban, but it now seems in a transition phase. Or maybe it's just me. We fled the suburbs for a more urbanized lifestyle, and I don't think we're the only ones moving in that direction.

I'm hitching my horse to the NYCC wagon as I think the area has a lot going for it. It provides enough of an urban kick with a dash of suburban comfort. And even though I am happily married, there are also lots of beautiful Asian women to admire :)

Does anyone else feel positive towards the future potential of this area? Or is it going down the tubes? Be interested in hearing from people who have watched it change over the years. Is anything better? Anything worse?

Huh???,... the Staple (BusinessDepot) has a second floor???? Just joking,... do you notice that nice Gone With The Wind curving staircase between the first and second floor in BusinessDepot,... err, I mean Staples? What type of multi-level stores usually have very nice staircases,.... Imagine that with really nice dark hardwood floor and carpeting for the whole store,.... Well, when EmpressWalk opened around 1998,...that BusinessDepot (Staple) stores was originally an Indigo Book & Music store then Chapters bookstore after they merged,.... even though there`s the North York reference library nearby,... that Indigo-Chapters store was very popular especially for people from the condos,... nice place to just stretch out and relax with a good book. Of course, that store wasn't very profitable,... but it sure was busy! Anyways, after Chapter-Indigo merged, they closed down some less profitable stores,.... like at EmpressWalk,.... and BusinessDepot-Staples eventually took over that space.

Why retail is stagnant around here,... house-rich but cash-poor,... many condo owners are still paying off their mortgages so they have limited disposable income,... in addition, many new condos in the area,... and newer condos tend to be much smaller,... like 500 or 700 square foot,... that does not leave a lot of space to acquire anything more than the bare necessities,.... its generally buy kids size furniture that your adult size rear-end can fit into!

The main issues with downtown North York is that its grown too much too fast,...

The province of Ontario has labelled downtown North York as a mobility hub and urban centre for growth,... but have NOT provided much if any infrastructure to support that growth. Since amalgamation in 1997, there has been 50 condos built in downtown North York (along Yonge between Beecroft to Doris from 401 to Hendon-Bishop just north of Finch),.... that's basically one new condo tower opening every 3-4 months. They're on a subway line,... so allow development and they'll use the subway,... but many still use cars,... so we have worst traffic gridlock in GTA,.. which has worst traffic congestion in North America!

Why does the city allow this,... often they loose at OMB,.. but if you consider a group of 10 houses that pays about $5,000 in property tax each year will net the city about $50,000 in property tax each year. Now, if a developer comes along and buy those 10 houses and build your typical 100m 30 storey 500 unit condo tower (that's the OLD height limit),... all the sudden the city is getting a few million dollars in property tax from each condo tower,... each and every year! For the 50 new condo towers in downtown North York that adds up to HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS in property tax money to the city, each and every single year,... but where does all that money go????? Generally outside this area to other parts of Toronto!!!!

Look,... the city of Toronto has fixed borders,.... and thus fix amount of land,... and their main source of revenue is property tax,... the only way for the city to generate substantial revenue growth,.... is for the city to grow upward,... and the city of Toronto is dirt poor,... and desperate for money,... so any place they can build and pack in condos is a financial win-fall for the city of Toronto,.... there are only a few wards that has substantial condo growth like Ward 23 Willowdale and a few downtown that include harbourfront.

The Yonge-401 interchange was last redesigned in the 1960s when this area was full of strip plaza and bungalows on huge lots,... now it's full of high density condos and office towers,... the Yonge-401 interchange can't handle today's traffic volumes,... during AM peak time, that infamous southbound Yonge to eastbound 401 left turn backs up and gridlocks the entire downtown North York area creating the worst traffic congestion in GTA (which has worst traffic congestion in North America),.... and during PM peak time, the westbound off-ramps at Yonge backs up to Bayview blocking the 401 collector lanes,... some good ideas are floating around but we need the political will from all level of government,... provincial seems to be lacking! Councillor John Filion's office seems to be eager to get something done,.... but its a long process.

There isn't enough local school capacity,... many of the kids in the condos end up getting bused out of the area for school.

End result,... infrastructure is lacking,... Yonge-401 interchange last redesigned in 1960s when area was full of strip plaza and bungalows on huge lots,.... now gridlocking NYCC and westbound collectors at Yonge to Bayview,.... and not enough schools,... many condo kids get bused out.

As far as Asian woman,.... they're more trouble then they're worth!
 
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mkerian

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Architecture and fashion retail aside (definitely lacks in these), these are cosmetic things that can always come. Some of the above items aren't so easy to obtain in a community.

I do agree it's biggest threat is it becomes dominated by any one single ethnic group (i.e. becomes less diverse and turns into an ethnic ghetto). Right now it has a good mix, particularly closer to Sheppard. Hopefully it remains diverse and inclusive to all groups.
I agree with the lack of medium to large retail. Although it's good to know that the 'bones' are there. North York centre (yes really) has great potential, and the new food court is a good sign. Empress, while awkward, should be better with better tenants. For example, if they got rid of that Staples and put in a Chapters, which I believe was the original plan. Or, even better, a Target.

A revitalized Sheppard Centre, Hullmark Whole Foods, and small Emerald Park mall also provide great move in ready retail opportunities.

I feel like when good retail does move in, it will happen in a big way. We just need that first push.

As for the ethnic mix, I agree I wish it could reflect Toronto's diversity a little more. But around Sheppard it's pretty good, it's only more towards Finch where there's an Iranian/Korean dominance. But, I think that's just the nature of how the area has developed. These condos pop up, and Korean students and immigrants move in as investors or renters, respectively. I find Iranians are also significant investors in these new projects, and obviously gravitate towards a more inclusive community.

As the area matures, you'll find more and more people will want in, and the area will naturally diversify. I think it's only when an area is on the decline do you find that a few ethnic groups dominate as there is no external pressure of newcomers.
 

taal

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See compared to Yonge and Eglinton this was always my issue with NYCC (where I lived for over 15 years) ! And to be honest it used to be much much worse !

I never understood why their couldn't be more interesting retail !


Having said that I want to point this out;

The huge tridel complex with over 6 condos brought a HUGE ammount of retail to NYCC ... I think a lot of people don't walk North enough to see it (its between Empress and Finch). Moreover the retail was all small units, which I know some of you don't like but it works well in this area ! I'm sure there are over 50 retail units in this complex, some front Yonge, some front a new driveway. Yes there is turnover but there are many spots that have been around for over a year.

There are a lot of small restaurants / small clothing stores / ... yes a lot Asian / Persian based (with does add a little to the lack of ethnic diversity ... but honestly Y&E is just as bad for this, with the majority of restaurants being Italian).
 
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sunnyraytoronto

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Yes,... this area of downtown North York along Yonge Street from 401 to Steeles,... have a high demographic of Korean, Persian, and Chinese,.... and given the high retail vacancy rate at the lower concourse level of North York City Centre, high turnover rate at those cubical size stores in Tridel complex on Yonge north of Church, half dead SheppardCentre, etc,... probably a bit too much retail especially small size retail spaces.

The question is,.. given the demographic of the local area,... would an ethnic theme mall like PacificMall work here in downtown North York,....

Rio-Can, the owner of SheppardCentre isn`t known for ethnic malls,... but they are redoing the entire retail area of SheppardCentre and looking for 2 anchor tenants,... so would something like T&T be a complete game changer and allow SheppardCentre to surpass the new retail space at Tridel HullmarkCentre and EmeraldPark,....

Then the question becomes,... why have previous ethnic themed malls in the area fail to come to fruition before those projects were even completed,.... namely, EmeraldPark was to have T&T on second floor retail space which drew in lots of Chinese PacificMall type stores to the first floor retail space,.. but Loblaws T&T withdrew because the developer took too long to construct,..... Centrium was supposed to have a Korean mall at its retail podium but that project is now dead due to financing,..
 

NorthYorkEd

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Well, when EmpressWalk opened around 1998,...that BusinessDepot (Staple) stores was originally an Indigo Book & Music store then Chapters bookstore after they merged...
Now you are breaking my heart. I said to my wife when we first moved here and were checking out Empress, "Man, it would be nice if there was a Chapters here."

That store would be a perfect fit for Empress. Of course, I still grab a coffee and browse the Library a couple times per week, but I've always liked the atmosphere of a bookstore. The Staples must be suffering; I don't think that chain is doing good overall. Maybe the Chapters will come back if Staples goes belly-up.

Did the Empress Chapters move to Bayview or was that one always a separate store? It might just have been ahead of it's time, perhaps a better business case could be made for it now.
 

NorthYorkEd

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The huge tridel complex with over 6 condos brought a HUGE ammount of retail to NYCC ... I think a lot of people don't walk North enough to see it (its between Empress and Finch).
I see that retail square when we are walking on Yonge or Doris but have not really checked anything out. I think I just assumed it was ethnic-specialty type shops. One thing we keep talking about doing but never seem to do is try some of the Korean restaurants around here. It's weird, but there's almost a feeling of exclusion, like we might be seen as outsiders and not necessarily welcome in some of them. Totally unjustified and completely without merit, but we still feel conspicuous sometimes. The area does lack of cohesive feel, that sense of community you get in other neighborhoods. But again, I think this mostly just growing pains and things will improve.
 

sunnyraytoronto

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Now you are breaking my heart. I said to my wife when we first moved here and were checking out Empress, "Man, it would be nice if there was a Chapters here."

That store would be a perfect fit for Empress. Of course, I still grab a coffee and browse the Library a couple times per week, but I've always liked the atmosphere of a bookstore. The Staples must be suffering; I don't think that chain is doing good overall. Maybe the Chapters will come back if Staples goes belly-up.

Did the Empress Chapters move to Bayview or was that one always a separate store? It might just have been ahead of it's time, perhaps a better business case could be made for it now.
EmpressWalk open with Indigo around 1998 which became Chapters after their merger in 2001. At the time of the merger I remember thinking there's 3 Chapters around here,.... EmpressWalk, BayviewVillage and Yonge north of Steeles,... I think EmpessWalk Chapters closed around 2003,....

BayviewVillage used to be not so high class,.... Regular mall,... Even discount mall,... But went upscale in 90s,... Had separate K-mart,.... Which closed 1998 and replaced with new attach addition to mall that include Chapters around 2000
 

sunnyraytoronto

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I see that retail square when we are walking on Yonge or Doris but have not really checked anything out. I think I just assumed it was ethnic-specialty type shops. One thing we keep talking about doing but never seem to do is try some of the Korean restaurants around here. It's weird, but there's almost a feeling of exclusion, like we might be seen as outsiders and not necessarily welcome in some of them. Totally unjustified and completely without merit, but we still feel conspicuous sometimes. The area does lack of cohesive feel, that sense of community you get in other neighborhoods. But again, I think this mostly just growing pains and things will improve.
Try Owl of Minerva on west side of Yonge south of Church-Churchhill,..... Their pork bone soup hits the spot on a chilly day,....they are very popular,... Less ethnic and get lots of non-Korean customers,...
 

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Try Owl of Minerva on west side of Yonge south of Church-Churchhill,..... Their pork bone soup hits the spot on a chilly day,....they are very popular,... Less ethnic and get lots of non-Korean customers,...
Seconded.

I was just up at NYCC for the first time in months (years?) and I have to admit that it's really gained a lot of vibrancy since I last saw it - at least on the streets (I didn't go into any of the malls). The sidewalks were actually busy. There was a lot of dense, ethnic retail - much better than the sterile stuff you see on Bay Street's condo alley.
 

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