An upscale wellness and social club will be opening on the upper level of the former Nordstrom Rack space at the southeast corner of Bloor and Yonge Streets in downtown Toronto. The new initiative by Altea Active will be called AVANT, and it will serve an affluent demographic that lives in the area.
AVANT by Altea Active will occupy about 31,000 square feet in total, with most of that space being the upper level of the Nordstrom Rack store that shut in May of this year, along with all Nordstrom stores in Canada. AVANT will have a dedicated street-facing entrance on Bloor Street in a building owned and managed by First Capital REIT at 1 Bloor Street East.
The fitness concept, set to open in early 2025, will feature industry-leading studio fitness offerings, state-of-the-art strength and cardio equipment, private and small-group training options, and an array of high-end amenities. Catering to an upscale demographic, Altea Active said in a statement that AVANT will take a hospitality-forward approach in the new facility with “unrivalled amenities and premium offerings” in a space conceptualized by Chapi Chapo Design. Included will be the “comforts found in five-star hotels and urban oases around the world.”
Altea Active says that it is known for “customizing clubs to the demographic of its host neighbourhood,” and the luxury positioning of AVANT makes sense. The high density area nearby includes a considerable number of high-income households, and the population is growing rapidly as new apartment condominium towers are built.
AVANT will compete particularly with two other high-end fitness concepts in the neighbourhood, including an Equinox gym at Yorkville Village (formerly Hazelton Lanes) and boutique fitness concept Barry’s Bootcamp, located at the back-end of 100 Bloor Street West. The Bloor-Yorkville area is otherwise highly saturated with fitness facilities that include three GoodLife gyms (including a recently renovated Manulife Centre location) and boutique fitness concepts such as F45, Orangetheory and others.
The 1 Bloor Street East retail podium is at the base of one of the tallest residential buildings in Canada. In May of 2018, Nordstrom Rack opened a 38,000 square foot store in a two-level corner space where it remained for almost exactly five years. US-based restaurant chain Chick-fil-A occupies a space in the podium, and The Ballroom bowling/entertainment concept will be opening in a former McEwan grocery store on the lower level of the building.
Altea Active has signed a long-term lease with First Capital REIT for the new AVANT location at Yonge and Bloor. “With the signing of the long-term lease, the Altea team looks forward to serving the Yorkville neighborhood for decades to come,” said David Wu, Co-Founder and President of Altea Active in a statement.
Michael Nolan, Co-Founder and COO of Altea Active said in a statement, “We couldn’t be more excited to introduce Yorkville to AVANT, and to deliver a brand-new, ultra premium experience to the community. This evolution is a major milestone as we continue to elevate our member experience and push the boundaries of what a fulsome wellness and social club should be with premium amenities and luxury hospitality infused at every touchpoint.”
“We are excited to join this project, fusing our global expertise in luxury hospitality design with the unique essence of the Yorkville community to craft something extraordinary,” states Boris Mathias, Partner & Co-Founder of Chapi Chapo Design, “drawing inspiration from the world’s most prestigious hotels and luxury experiences”.
Eric Sherman of First Capital REIT negotiated the lease deal on behalf of the landlord for AVANT prior to being promoted to a new role. “We are incredibly excited to be working with the Altea team to deliver a revolutionary concept in the luxury fitness and wellness space that we are confident will be embraced by the Bloor-Yorkville community,” said Sherman, who is now Head of National Operations at First Capital REIT. “We continue to enhance our neighbourhood portfolio with best-in-class brands and operators and Altea certainly aligns with this strategy.”
Altea Active opened its first location in November of 2019 in Winnipeg, spanning about 80,000 square feet. A second location, spanning about 89,000 square feet, opened in Toronto’s Liberty Village in March of 2022. A new 43,000 square foot location is scheduled to open next month in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant area.