Morguard Adding Luxury Retailers to The Colonnade and Holt Renfrew Centre on Bloor Street in Toronto [Interview]


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Canadian real estate company Morguard Corporation is looking at adding some new high end retailers to two of its jewel properties in downtown Toronto.

Joy Emanuele Rabideau

Joy Emanuele Rabideau, General Manager, Toronto Urban Properties, for Morguard Corporation, based in Mississauga, said the company will be adding high end brands to The Colonnade and to the Holt Renfrew Centre as traffic and office occupancy continues to grow in the downtown following the COVID pandemic.

The Colonnade is the premier Bloor Street address for luxury retailers in Canada and home to Prada, Moncler, William Ashley, Cartier and Christian Dior. In addition, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Montblanc, Tiffany & Co., Burberry and Gucci are steps away. The shopping complex is 71,479 square feet with 14 stores and services on two levels.

The Colonnade also includes 157 residential suites and three floors of office. It is home to Amal restaurant.

Rabideau said Salvatore Ferragamo will open there this year.

Future Salvatore Ferragamo (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

“And we potentially have another high end retailer to come to that property,” she said.

“We have right now vacant three spaces . . . The Colonnade is right on the south side of Bloor and St. Thomas. It’s in a really high end residential area. It’s really a great spot to be. They used to at one time call it the Mink Mile.”

Cartier at The Colonnade (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
OTW at 131 Bloor Street West (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Rabideau said there have been some retail vacancies in the area along with redevelopment and construction that have presented some challenges.

“But the great thing about the Colonnade is its name and the tenants we have. We have go-to tenants. Even during COVID, Cartier and Christian Dior, they were able to assist their customers. They had curbside pickup. They had people that would just order online. People who would just call them. The brands there are great and the services too. 

“These are tenants that really provide high end customer service. They have great management staff. They have good infrastructure in their stores to support their customers. Great outlook and Morguard was a big supporter of all of them during COVID in any way we could assist them.

“The negative is some high end retailers had some fails. Like Escada failed. That was a name brand at one time and they’re no longer part of the Colonnade. COVID was not good to all of them . . . That was a negative for the Colonnade losing that big player but since then we’ve been working with another retailer to try and do another deal. That’s the upside.”

Bloor Street West (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Holt Renfrew Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

The Holt Renfrew Centre is located in the prestigious Bloor-Yorkville area in Toronto. The property is well situated in the axis of the city’s east-west and north-south subway lines and is in close proximity to some of Toronto’s wealthiest areas such as Rosedale and Forest Hill. With over 6.4 million visits a year, the Holt Renfrew Centre’s sales surpass $994 per square foot.

The shopping centre is 274,915 square feet with total square footage of 83,989 square feet for CRU tenants. There are about 40 stores and services in the four-level centre anchored by Holt Renfrew and its 190,926 square feet.

Rabideau said Holt Renfrew is doing very well. 

“We have a new deal – I can’t disclose it – that will be taking over the upper level of the former Zara and Fossil space. So our pre-construction (has started) on that space. It’s exciting news,” she said.

“Aritizia is doing very well there. Our lower level of the centre has suffered because of the volume of traffic in the GTA. When I first started this position in January 2022, office occupancy was about 16 per cent. It’s now at 38 per cent on average from Monday to Friday. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the busiest days for office occupancy. 

“We’re doing deals in the lower concourse level and we have tenants like Laura Secord, Tim Hortons, Bell. Our traffic has gone up substantially.”

Holt Renfrew Centre Future Tenant (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

She said traffic for 2023 from January to March has increased by 33 per cent compared with the same period in 2022.

“We have some temp tenants, specialty leasing tenants, that we’ve done in the concourse that are high end retailers which we’ve been fortunate. So we do have some good news. The Flight Centre is doing well with people traveling all over the place. There is some action down there.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.


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