Hazelton Lanes Expanding to Become ‘Yorkville Village’

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Toronto’s iconic Hazelton Lanes shopping centre will be overhauled and rebranded as ‘Yorkville Villlage‘, as landlord First Capital Realty looks to incorporate it into the Yorkville neighbourhood. We’re told that First Capital is also looking to eventually own most of the buildings on the surrounding streets, turning Yorkville into a world-class entertainment destination.

First Capital bought Hazelton Lanes in 2011. Anchored by Canada’s most productive Whole Foods location, the centre otherwise struggled with its dated interiors and awkward access points. First Capital retained design firm Kasian to redesign the complex, and we’ve got renderings as well as a video highlighting the renovation.

First Capital will spend over $100 million, transforming the former Hazelton Lanes into a bright, upscale ‘neighbourhood centre’. Whole Foods will remain an anchor, as will Andrews department store and fashion retailer TNT The New Trend. We’re told that luxury retail will not be the primary focus for the new Yorkville Village, though if luxury brands want to join, they’re certainly welcome. 

A new 60 foot wide Yorkville Avenue entrance hall will welcome shoppers into into the south end of the complex. Featuring a retractable entryway with an ‘indoor/outdoor’ interior, a cafe and retail space will be housed under its glass roof. The new entrance replaces structures at 136-138 Yorkville Avenue, which will be demolished for the addition.

Equinox Fitness will get a new home within the complex. Currently located on the mall’s ground floor, Equinox will relocate to Yorkville Village’s third level, occupying 20,000 square feet of former office space. Equinox will also occupy about 4,000 square feet of Yorkville Village’s ground floor, as well as another 4,000 square feet of the mall’s concourse level. In the rendering above, you can see Equinox protruding over the sidewalk with large windows. 

The two-minute video provides a walk-through of the new Yorkville Village centre. The mall’s Avenue Road entrance will see a new facade and new signage, and the mall’s sun-flooded interiors feature reflective marble flooring and modern fixtures. The mall’s Hazelton Avenue entrance features an attractive wooden canopy, located between two historical townhomes which are now occupied by retail.

The video provides multiple interior views of the overhauled mall, including a renovated atrium featuring Whole Foods and Rexall Drugs

Hazelton Lanes’ first phase, at 55 Avenue Road, was built in 1976 and measured only 60,000 square feet. Because it opened before the Toronto Eaton Centre, it managed to secure more upscale retailers than it otherwise would have. Hazelton Lanes almost tripled in size in 1988 by adding address 87 Avenue Road to its north portion, hosting even more luxury retailers such as Hermes, Gianni Versace, Valentino, Fogal of Switzerland, Emanual Ungaro, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, and others. The recession which hit Toronto a couple of years later resulted in many luxury stores eventually closing at Hazelton Lanes. The mall’s awkward configuration, low ceilings and inconveniently-located entrances further contributed to the mall’s downfall. Hazelton Lanes eventually became more of a neighbourhood shopping centre (albeit an upscale one) of almost 237,000 square feet. 

First Capital also has big plans for the surrounding neighbourhood. It recently purchased several neighbouring retail properties, including 80-100, 102-104, 106-108, and 136-138 Yorkville Avenue. The map below shows the new Yorkville Village, consisting of the former Hazelton Lanes and the new retail properties, all marked in blue. First Capital currently owns about 80% of the north side of Yorkville Avenue between Hazelton Avenue and Bellair Street. We’re told that First Capital would like to eventually own much of the commercial space on both Yorkville Avenue and Cumberland Street, where it will create a world-class entertainment district including shopping, restaurants, and other neighbourhood amenities. 

First Capital could end up spending over half a billion dollars in the Yorkville area over the next several years, we’re told, as it acquires property for Yorkville Village. 

According to statistics compiled by First Capital, the local population is young (50% are between 25 and 40), affluent, and spends a considerable amount of time in the immediate area. As Yorkville’s population grows substantially with new condominium towers, First Capital will provide residents and visitors a variety of attractions and entertainment options. 

We’ll update this story as details become available. Thank you to Urban Toronto‘s bAuHaUs for providing us with the above video. All photos in this article are either via Kasian, or screenshots from the video. 

Article Author

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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  1. still retains that original Hazelton rat-warren vibe, must everything in that space be maze-like, low-ceilinged and Small? The news hat it won’t be luxury is even more worrisome, who is making these decisions?


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