A story in the Globe and Mail yesterday confirms rumours that the Hudson's Bay store at Bloor and Yonge streets in Toronto's Yorkville area will be remade as the Canadian flagship location of Saks Fifth Avenue, the American luxury goods department store chain now owned by the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC).

Hudson's Bay Centre from the air, 2012, image from Apple Maps

The story, an engaging in-depth profile of HBC's majority owner Richard Baker and his plans for the company's future, includes a few tidbits of information about plans for the store. Baker considers the present building "ugly" and has already had plans drawn up to remake the interior and exterior to better suit a contemporary luxury flagship store, although the drawings and architect's name have not yet been released. According to the story by Marina Strauss, the rendering "shows the place sleekly redesigned, with a white façade and large sheets of glass at the front", and displaying the Saks Fifth Avenue signage.

Hudson's Bay Centre at street level, 2011, image from Google Street View

The complex is generally considered on UrbanToronto.ca to be one of the ugliest in the city, and a major makeover will be highly anticipated. The Globe and Mail article mentions that the Bloor-Yonge Saks would be the seconds largest Saks store in the world (currently at 342,000 square feet) and is about twice the size of rival Holt Renfrew (185,000 square feet) just a block to the west. HBC would put up to about $100 million into the remake of this location.

HBC is considering building or converting up to 8 stores in Canada for the Saks brand, and reports to be negotiating for space at major suburban malls "such as" Sherway Gardens as well as Yorkdale Mall, both of which have Sears stores closing in the near future.

The Globe story has much more information about HBC's direction and is worth a read. In the meantime, at the Holt Renfrew mention above just down the street, plans for the redevelopment of that complex are still evolving. The initial version, which includes a major expansion of Holt's, can be found in the dataBase file for the project, linked below.

If you want to talk about the Saks Fifth Avenue plans, you can join in the discussion in the UrbanToronto Forum thread for the project, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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