Grocery Store Proposed for Urban Food Desert

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A new grocery store is proposed for the base of a condominium development at 88 Queen Street East in Toronto. The new store, if built, will address a lack of grocery store retail in the neighbourhood, and may help facilitate further revitalization of the immediate area, according to a residential real estate expert. 

Toronto-based St. Thomas Developments Inc. is spearheading the development that will span an entire city block. Several buildings will house hundreds of residential units and at the base will be approximately 80,000 square feet of retail space. Its first phase will feature a 29 story tower with 421 residential units, priced from the mid $200,000’s with completion anticipated for September of 2018.

Renderings for the 88 Queen Street East tower show a proposed grocery store at its base. If built as planned, the grocery store will address local needs which, according to a University of Alberta study, are not being met in the immediate area. The study concludes that in dense, walkable urban areas, grocery stores should ideally be within 500 metres of a residence. The area around 88 Queen Street East lacks grocery stores, though pricey Pusateri’s at Saks Fifth Ave will open less than 400 metres away later this spring. For those with more modest incomes, two Metro grocery stores are in the area, though more than 500 metres walking distance to the proposed 88 Queen development. 

Matthew Slutsky, co-founder and President of leading online real estate database BuzzBuzzHome, said that a grocery store would be a welcome addition to the neighbourhood which is currently lacking a quality supermarket, and that such an amenity could help spearhead the rejuvenation/evolution of the area. He noted that in the area bound by Church Street, Queen Street East, King Street East and Sherborne Street, there is only one residential development selling units — the 88 Queen Condos directly above the proposed grocery store. For comparison, he noted that in the area west of downtown, bound by York Street, Queen Street West, King Street West and Spadina Avenue, there are 20 new condominium developments selling units. He figures that with its proximity to downtown, it’s only a matter of time before the area surrounding 88 Queen Street East becomes a ‘hot’ neighbourhood for developers and purchasers. 

For more information on grocery stores in Canadian urban centres, you may download the entire University of Alberta School of Retailing Applied Research study here.

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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2 COMMENTS

  1. I guess how "neighbourhood" is defined is the key to the subject of the story here. There is a Metro less than five minute walk north of this site. A massive Loblaws within a 15 minute walk north. St. Lawrence Market is a five minute walk south, another Metro six minutes walk south, another Loblaws 10 minutes walk south. Plus two discount grocery stores less than six blocks away. You could also take the subway and opens up another two brand name stores within five minutes. Condo dwellers don’t load up a grocery cart to feed the family for a week… smaller purchases are easy to carry.

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