CANADA’S TOP RETAIL RENTS: ALL LOWER THAN YORKDALE MALL

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Colliers International has released its latest report on retail space rents, including those on Canada’s most expensive shopping streets. Interestingly, Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre charges rents higher than Canada’s most expensive street, Bloor Street West, in Toronto.

According to the study, these numbers are average quoted asking rental rates, and we’re using Canadian dollars. Canada’s highest retail rents, as measured per square foot, are as follows:

1) Bloor Street West, Toronto: $315/sq ft

2) Robson Street, Vancouver: $200/sq ft

2) (tie) Ste Catherine Street, Montreal: $200/sq ft

4) Alberni Street, Vancouver: $150/sq ft

5) Granville Street, Vancouver: $125/sq ft

6) Spring Garden Road, Halifax: $65/sq ft

6) (tie) 17th Avenue S.W., Calgary: $65/sq ft

8) 4th St. S.W., Calgary: $60/sq ft

9) Greene Avenue, Montreal: $60/sq ft

10) Rue de la Montagne, Montreal: $60/sq ft. 

The following are a few comments about several of these streets, followed by comments on Yorkdale: 

Bloor Street West, Toronto:

Bloor Street’s high rents are concentrated in a few short blocks between Yonge Street and Avenue Road. Retailers include some of Canada’s most prestigious stores (Chanel, Gucci, Prada, MulberryDolce & GabbanaTiffany & Co.) as well as some lower-priced stores including the likes of Zara, Winners, Roots and, soon, J. Crew and Brooks Brothers. Bloor Street is considered to be Canada’s most prestigious high street and its high rents reflect this. Interestingly, Bloor Street’s rents are only marginally lower than those of Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, assessed at $328/sq ft. Bloor Street has been Canada’s most expensive street for years, and rents only went up 1.6% from last year. 

Robson Street, Vancouver:

Vancouver’s Robson Street has more mid-range retailers, and its relatively high rents reflect the volume of sales on the street. Asking rents of $200 are up substantially from last year, when asking rents were only in the $150 range. New retailers continue to open stores on Robson including, recently, Browns ShoesVictoria’s Secret and J. Crew. Shoe retailer Steve Madden just opened a Robson Street store, and retailers New Balance, HMV, Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutique and a popular car retailer (we’ll discuss this in a later article) have recently secured space on Robson Street. The most expensive Robson Street blocks are the 1000 and 1100 blocks, between Burrard and Bute Streets. 

Ste Catherine Street, Montreal:

This street has been relatively successful in featuring mostly mid-priced retailers. It also includes several larger stores including La Maison Simons and Les Ailes de la Mode. The most popular retail portion of Ste Catherine Street is anchored by Ogilvy to the West and Hudson’s Bay/La Baie to the East. Saks Fifth Avenue will likely share Hudson’s Bay’s retail space within the next 24 months

Alberni Street, Vancouver:

Vancouver’s Alberni Street saw a substantial increase in rents (43%) over last year. This is mainly due to the asking rents at The Carlyle, a luxury retail redevelopment on Alberni Street’s 1000 block. We recently wrote an article discussing the increase in luxury shops on Alberni Street, which will soon see the addition of De BeersTory Burch and Tumi. More luxury retailers are on the way, with lease negotiations ongoing

Spring Garden Road, Halifax:

This street is home to popular department store Mills, which recently “re-opened” after moving to a new store location. The rest of Spring Garden Road includes some popular and some moderately upscale retailers, contributing to Halifax’s most popular shopping street. Surprisingly, rents on this street are down 7.1% from last year. 

17th Avenue S.W., Calgary:

Calgary’s retail is overwhelmingly dominated by shopping malls. Despite this, 17th Avenue S.W. continues to come out on top as the city’s most popular retail high street (and at $60/sq ft, ties for most costly). Substantial changes are on the way for the street, including a renovation and expansion of the Mount Royal Village complex (we’ll do an article on this in the next while). Rents are up 8.3% over last year. 

Retail Insider’s Karim Rashwan directed us to comments made by Yorkdale Mall’s General Manager Anthony Casalanguida, who stated that rents in his mall are now in the $350-375/square foot range. These are higher than any of the streets described above. Yorkdale is on track to becoming North America’s highest-selling mall , with sales expected to be $2 billion by 2018. Yorkdale has also opened several new luxury stores including MulberryFerragamo, and (soon) a renovated and expanded Holt Renfrew storeAnother expansion of the mall breaks ground soon, including a 188,000 square foot Nordstrom store. Yet another expansion is expected where Sears is currently located, and this could possibly include a La Maison Simons store.

The following is a link to the entire Colliers International 2013 Retail Report.

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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