An expansion and renovation of Toronto’s RioCan Yonge Eglinton Centre is nearing completion after more than three years of construction. The centre anchors one of the busiest intersections in the region, which will only become busier when the $5.3 billion Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit line is completed in 2021.
French beauty retailer Sephora will anchor a prominent corner retail space at the centre, with frontage on Yonge Street as well as from access points within the centre. Construction is now underway on what will become one of Canada’s largest Sephora stores at 10,459 square feet, which is scheduled to open in July of this year.
According to RioCan Vice President/Leasing Jeffrey Stephenson, the centre features a mixture of both destination and local retailers to serve resident and visitor populations. Local shoppers might patronize recently renovated grocery retailer Metro or Goodlife Fitness, for example, while retailers such as Sephora, Swarovski, Urban Outfitters and Michael Hill can pull shoppers from a wider catchment area. Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects were responsible for the 70-store retail component renovation (including the addition of a 40,000 square foot glass/metal ‘cube’ at the Yonge/Eglinton corner), as well as designing the re-cladding of the centre’s two office towers.
A number of new tenants were recently added to the centre, diversifying its retail mix with a variety of food and fashion. The four-level retail podium features a number of food retailers on the subway level, and the top two floors also feature a number of large format retailers such as Winners, Toys “R” Us, Indigo Books & Music, and Goodlife Fitness. An enhanced concept Pickle Barrel restaurant, also upstairs, overlooks the busy neighbourhood below. Recognizing affluence in the surrounding area, Cineplex recently opened one of the region’s only VIP Theatres, further driving traffic to the centre.
According to RioCan Senior Vice President of Leasing Jeff Ross, the decision to expand and improve the centre was partly in response to anticipated increased traffic from the new Eglinton Crosstown Line, as well as new residential development in the immediate area. RioCan earmarked over $100 million to improve the centre, which now includes a 264,400 square foot retail component as well as about 754,000 square feet of office space in two tall towers. The intersection is already very well-trafficked, with an estimated 80,000+ daily pedestrians. Only Toronto’s Yonge and Dundas Street intersection is busier.
RioCan’s focus isn’t just on its retail/office plaza at Yonge and Eglinton’s northwest corner, however — the company has partnered with Bazis and Metropia for a project called ‘E Condos‘ at the northeast corner of the same intersection. That development will include a 54,000 square foot commercial podium at the base of two residential towers measuring 58 and 38 stories, with over 850 residential units between the two of them.