Rabba To Replace Shuttered Fresh City Farms on Bay Street in Downtown Toronto

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Retail Insider has learned that Toronto-based Rabba Fine Foods will be opening a new location in the shuttered Fresh City Farms at Bay Street and Gerrard Street in Toronto.

The 5,600 square foot grocery store is in the base of The Livmore, a 43-storey 595-unit rental tower at 55 Gerrard West. Rabba will service a community in transition, with a number of residential proposals in the area.

The Livmore at Bay and Gerrard in Toronto (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Future Rabba (Previously Fresh City Farms) at The Livmore 55 Gerrard Street West (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

A 1,840 square foot section of the original Fresh City Farms has been made available for sub-lease by CBRE, with an opportunity to compliment the area and a 24-hour grocery store neighbour.

Retail Floor Plans at Livmore at 55 Gerrard Street W
Looking southwest to the 2023 design for Chelsea Green (this image also include the 69-storey 8 Elm), image from submission to City of Toronto (via UrbanToronto.ca)

Growth and density will be a long-term factor in the decision for Rabba to open in the neighbourhood.

The most significant long-term development will be the future of Canada’s largest hotel property, The Chelsea Hotel, which under a renamed “Chelsea Green” proposal will potentially add 1,700 residential units, brand new hotel with retail and office space.

College Park at Yonge and College in Toronto (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

For competition, the surrounding city block could be the most significant density of grocery brands in the entire city.

Sobeys-owned Farm Boy opened at College Park in 2021, as part of a transformation which saw multiple Sobeys locations turn from one brand into another, including Queens Quay Terminal on the Waterfront.

Metro also has a location in the concourse level of College Park, next to the College Park TTC subway entrance.

Farm Boy at 777 Bay Street (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Three blocks away, the 85,000 square foot Loblaw Carlton Street inside the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens includes a Joe Fresh, LCBO and a quick service restaurant concept called Globōl.

In the same complex as the grocery store is the Mattamy Athletic Centre. The 10-year old sporting facility features a 2,600 seat NHL sized arena on the third floor underneath the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens domed ceiling.

Loblaw Carlton Street at Maple Leaf Gardens (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
IKEA City Aura (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

On a smaller, but not insignificant discussion point in the grocery side, IKEA Canada opened IKEA City in the former Bed, Bath & Beyond location at The Aura. Included in the 66,000 square foot store at the north-west corner of Yonge and Gerrard is a “Swedish Deli”, a mix of sit-down and grab-and-go options, including frozen foods.

For a community that is walking distance to Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), University of Toronto and seeing dozens of new proposals for condo developments that will rival the tallest buildings in the country, the space has a built-in customer base.

IKEA City Aura (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Fresh City Farms, the previous tenant, opened in the early months of the pandemic and Retail Insider covered the opening with an interview with Ran Goel, the CEO and Founder.

Fresh City was founded in 2011 as a city farm and retailer of farm-fresh, organic produce and prepared foods. In late 2018, the brand acquired Mabel’s Bakery, and its four locations (Roncesvalles, Queen West, St Clair West and The Junction). Fresh City then acquired The Healthy Butcher 2019, which had two locations before it shuttered its Queen Street West location and focusing efforts on the Eglinton Avenue West midtown store.

The brand continues to operate through Mama Earth Organics online and through its brick & mortar businesses.

PHOTO: FRESH CITY
Former Fresh City Farms at The Livmore (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Closed Fresh City Farms on Ossington (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

The company’s first location was on Ossington Avenue, which has also subsequently closed – and Retail Insider has learned the retailer of that space, but was asked to hold onto the announcement for the time being.

CBRE represented the landlord for the Bay & Gerrard transaction and is also responsible for the transaction on Ossington Avenue.

Dustin Fuhs
Dustin Fuhs
Dustin Fuhs is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider, Canada's most read retail trade publication. He has over 20 years experience in the retail, marketing, entertainment and hospitality industries. He has worked with Retail Insider since October 2020 in a number of roles, including associate publisher of the Retail Insider magazine. Dustin was named as Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider in 2022. Dustin was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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