Loblaws in Kensington Market? Why not?

February 6, 2014 in Real Estate Blog

An online petition to stop Loblaws from opening on College Street, just 400 metres from Kensington Market, is in full swing.  We’ve seen opposition similar to this in areas such as the Danforth.  I remember back in the late 1990s when I was with the National Post, and my assignment was to cover the opposition of the proposed Tim Horton’s at the corner of Logan and Danforth in Greektown.

Neighbours were opposed to big chains coming into the area, afraid it would change the flavour of the neighbourhood.  They were also afraid it would open the door to more franchises taking over the Danforth strip.

The owner of the building, who owns the pool hall on the upper floor as well, told me that it was his turn to cash in on a high rent that he had lost for decades.  The building was once a real estate office, then later sub-leased to a dollar store for about $2,000 a month.

He told me that Tim Horton’s was offering him something like $10,000 a month and would do all of the lease hold improvements which would add substantial value to his building.  Of course, it was a no-brainer for any property owner to take the offer.

The owner also said to me that all of those people who oppose the Tim Horton’s will probably someday be their best customers.

Some 15 years later, Tim Horton’s is a huge part of The Danforth and is thriving.  However, I can’t verify if any of those people ordering coffees with paper bags over their heads originally opposed the idea. If you walk along the strip, you’ll see a McDonald’s, a St. Louis Bar and Grill and even a Shopper’s Drug Mart.  All of theses franchises have contributed to the needs of the neighbourhood and most everyone I know, still call the area Greektown and enjoy it for what it is.

Anyway, here’s Edward Keenan of The Grid’s view about the marriage of Loblaws and Kensington Market:

http://www.thegridto.com/city/places/why-we-need-to-stop-worrying-and-let-kensington-market-change/

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