A bold proposal to transform a key block on Toronto’s Mink Mile will involve integrating the existing Harry Rosen flagship store into the podium of what will become one of Canada’s tallest buildings. It’s the latest development news in Toronto’s rapidly changing Bloor-Yorkville area, which houses a substantial number of luxury stores including several Canadian flagships.
Publication Urban Toronto reported on Monday of this week that a proposal by Krugarand Corporation for 80 Bloor Street West has been brought forth to the City of Toronto, which will include an 874 foot 79-storey mixed-use tower that will include a substantial retail component at its base. Included will be 1,430 residential condominium units in the massive tower, as well as three levels of retail space at the base facing onto Bloor Street. [Download architectural plans/floor plans (PDF)]
The tower will integrate the existing five-level Harry Rosen flagship store at 82 Bloor Street West, with part of the tower rising directly above it. More than 32,000 square feet of new retail space to the east of Harry Rosen will also be part of the proposal, spanning three levels including street level retail as well as second-floor and lower-level space. The Harry Rosen store spans 50,280 square feet according to the report, and the overall retail space when the project is built will encompass about 83,000 square feet.
A limited number of parking spaces are part of the proposal. In total, 172 spaces are proposed for the entire project, 32 of which will be allocated for visitors as well as for the retail space in a five-level underground parking structure. The development will be connected to the TTC Bay subway station via an escalator from a Bloor Street entrance downstairs into the concourse level retail component. Valuable retail space availability will be optimized as the residential tower will have a relatively small lobby on the main floor which will lead to a grander fifth-floor ‘sky lobby’.
The existing 18-storey 80 Bloor Street West office building will be demolished for the new development. Current retail tenants include Roots and Banana Republic, as well as a second-floor fitness centre and optical and medical retail tenants above it. The adjacent 1200 Bay Street tower is not part of the redevelopment proposal — 1200 Bay Street includes a 6,500 square foot retail space recently vacated by Davids Footwear at 66 Bloor Street West, as well as two restaurants facing onto Bay Street.
The additional retail space at 80 Bloor Street West presents an opportunity for brokers to add new retail tenants to the area. At the same time, some have said that leasing space in the area has been a challenge, and several spots on the strip are already either vacant or are for sublease.
Luxury retail is a possibility for the new 80 Bloor retail podium, which is strategically positioned between Harry Rosen’s flagship and Holt Renfrew’s flagship which is located about 285 feet east of the new development. Luxury brands have typically located west of the Harry Rosen store along the stretch of Bloor Street leading towards Avenue Road, while Holt Renfrew boasts numerous luxury brand stores in a building which is also seeing a major overhaul that will be completed next spring. Given that the luxury stretch of Bloor Street West spans only about 900 feet, expanding it might make sense as brands eye moving into the area.
At the same time, disruption caused by the 80 Bloor tower construction could pose a challenge to the overall flow of pedestrian traffic on the Mink Mile. Many luxury shoppers will visit Holt Renfrew at 50 Bloor Street West before making their way westward towards flagships for brands such as Hermes, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. The area is in a state of transition, though luxury brands are still leasing in the area — in September we reported on Dior’s opening of an impressive 13,300 square foot flagship at The Colonnade at 131 Bloor Street West, and US-based women’s brand St. John Knits will open soon across the street at 130 Bloor Street West.
In the long run, the transformation of Bloor-Yorkville is good news. Groceraunt concept Eataly will open to the public on November 13 at the Manulife Centre at 55 Bloor Street West, which also saw a new Shoppers Drug Mart store open in the summer as well as the renovation of a basement-level Loblaw Independent CityMarket grocery store. Development at the corner of Bloor and Yonge Streets will include a newly renovated/rebuilt Cumberland Terrace at 2 Bloor Street West, as well as a reported Apple flagship store at the southwest corner of the intersection at the base of Sam Mizrahi’s ‘The ONE’ development. A W Hotel will open next year at the Hudson’s Bay Centre, which is also expected to see significant changes as a new subway platform is reconfigured below. Thousands of new residents will move into Bloor-Yorkville over the next several years in massive towers currently being built in the area.
Above: A flyover rendering of Toronto’s future skyline, including the new 80 Bloor St. W. tower. Video by ‘Koops65’ which was posted on Urban Toronto’s chat forum.
Yorkville Avenue is also seeing growth in luxury retailers as landlords such as First Capital Realty develop new projects. Already, brands that have opened on Yorkville Avenue since 2016 include Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Brunello Cucinelli, Versace, and Off-White. More are said to be on the way with the redevelopment of 101 Yorkville Avenue as well as in spaces recently vacated by Diesel and Anthropology.
We’ll report back with updates on the 80 Bloor Street West proposal, which will change the face of a key block of Toronto’s famed stretch of Bloor Street West. A timeline has not yet been revealed as to when construction will begin or when the tower project will be finished.