Retail Insider has learned that retailer Fabricland has secured a lease for the former H&M storefront at 15 Bloor Street West in Toronto’s prestigious Bloor-Yorkville area. The temporary store opens mid-April and will shut when the building demolished for redevelopment — the owner of Fabricland also owns the site.
The new Fabricland store will occupy multiple levels in the 20,000 square foot building which was recently being offered for lease by JLL. The dramatic three-level space is located just off the iconic corner of Yonge and Bloor streets and is next to The One at 1 Bloor Street West, which next year will tentatively be home to an Apple flagship store. Condominium apartment units for sale at The One, which will be finished next year, are currently on the market between about $2 million and $32 million — and an Andaz hotel will also be below it. The door into the luxury building will be next to the new Fabricland as per the photo above.
Each floor at 15 Bloor spans about 5,000 square feet, with 13 foot ceiling heights. H&M opened there in 2004 and was one of the first in Canada at the time. Several years ago, Scotiabank renovated and relocated within the adjacent 19 Bloor Street West and retail space next to it has not yet been leased despite best efforts.
Fabricland is expected to draw traffic to the street, including design students at Toronto Metropolitan University as well as students in other programs.
The terms of the Fabricland lease have not yet been revealed and it’s unknown how long the store will remain, given that 15 Bloor recently saw a tower proposal for the site as well as an adjacent site.
CoStar reported on February 1 of this year that the H&M building as well as the adjacent building at the corner of Balmuto Street, housing a Scotiabank, was under contract to an unnamed buyer for an undisclosed price. Earlier this month, Urban Toronto reported that a development application was being brought by Reserve Properties and Westdale Properties for the combined site with a proposal for a 94-storey mixed use tower housing a whopping 1,262 residential condominium units. The 990 foot tall tower would include less than 3,000 square feet of retail space at its base, a far cry from what’s there now. The proposed density for the site could break a Canadian record if it’s approved as proposed — and many are saying that it won’t be approved with the application requiring revisions, which means Fabricland could be on Bloor Street for several years depending on how things go. Given that the Kimel family owns both Westdale Properties and Fabricland, terms of any lease extensions are expected to be favourable if rent is being paid at all.
Fabricland will be located directly across the street from the Holt Renfrew Centre, which is home to a large Holt Renfrew flagship store as well as other retailers including a large Aritzia store facing Bloor Street. A large Lululemon flagship store is under construction at the northwest corner of Bloor and Yonge Streets and a Nordstrom Rack store diagonally across from it will eventually see a new tenant following Nordstrom’s exit from Canada. Across Balmuto Street is the Manulife Centre which is home to Eataly and numerous retailers such as Birks. A few hundred feet west is the main luxury run of Bloor Street which includes big-name retailers such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada, Cartier, Gucci, Tiffany & Co. and others. Several luxury brands are currently building new stores nearby, including Saint Laurent, Ferragamo, Rolex, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Alexander Wang.
This won’t be the first time that Fabricland has had a store on Bloor Street. Until about 12 years ago, the retailer operated in a basement space at the Hudson’s Bay Centre which is now occupied by a Dollarama store. The Hudson’s Bay store at the centre shut in May of 2022. Fabricland also had a presence in the former Honest Ed’s store at Bloor and Bathurst Streets which shut in 2016.
Fabricland was founded in 1968 as Fabricland Distributors, and its first store was at Queen and Roncesvalles. The retailer carries a large selection of fabrics as well as sewing notions and accessories, patterns, broadcloth, flannelette, suitings, utility and cleaning cloths, arctic fleece, cottons and blends, home goods such as curtains, as well as bridal and party wear and coordinated fashion collections. It has over 130 stores in Canada and is the largest fashion fabric distributor in the country.
We’ll follow up on this story next month when Fabricland opens its Bloor Street location.