Is Yorkville los­ing its bou­tique flavour?

In­de­pen­dent shops leave to make way for lux­ury brands in four-storey pro­posal

Annex Post - - NEWS - By Court­ney Green­berg

A redevelopment plan for the plaza at 101 Yorkville Ave. is push­ing out in­de­pen­dent shops, such as Over the Rain­bow and The Vil­lage Ink, to at­tract global brands, and some are con­cerned the area is los­ing its flavour.

If the pro­posal is ap­proved, the build­ing, also home to Sum­mer’s Ice Cream, will be de­mol­ished to make way for a four-storey struc­ture with nine com­mer­cial units, de­signed by Neuf ar­chi­tects for First Cap­i­tal Realty and Grey­brook Realty Part­ners.

Jonny Sil­ver­stein, who owns the tat­too par­lour The Vil­lage Ink, said he’s mak­ing plans to re­lo­cate, but as of right now, he’s not sure where.

“They only want high-end cloth­ing re­tail [in the new de­vel­op­ment] and tat­toos just don’t fit into that ... The rent is ob­nox­ious, atro­cious, and as­tro­nom­i­cal,” said Sil­ver­stein, who added that he’s al­ready pay­ing more than $11,000 a month, and the new rent would be even more ex­pen­sive.

Alan Baker, Greater Yorkville Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent, said he’s watched the area change over the years, and at the mo­ment, there’s a good mix of high-end and in­de­pen­dent re­tail­ers that should be main­tained.

“A lot of lo­cal shops are leav­ing be­cause they can’t af­ford it, and [they’re be­ing] re­placed by the Chanels of the world, which are fine re­tail­ers. But it’s nice to have a cross-sec­tion.”

Daniel Car­man, co-owner of Over the Rain­bow — which has been a lo­cal land­mark at 101 Yorkville Ave. since 1982 — said the store will be re­lo­cat­ing to the Man­ulife Cen­tre at Bay Street and Bloor Street, although a date has not yet been set.

“From our per­spec­tive, we felt it was im­por­tant [to stay in the area] be­cause we’ve been here for so long,” he said. “Yorkville is be­com­ing a higher end place to shop and eat and live. I think that all the places that are open­ing that are new are sort of catered to [that] clien­tele.”

Sasha Cu­cuz is a part­ner at Grey­brook Cap­i­tal, one of the site’s de­vel­op­ers. He said the fo­cal points of the project are to max­i­mize street­front ex­po­sure and cre­ate a space that would at­tract the type of lux­ury brands in line with the build­ing. But they also want to use pub­lic space in a thought­ful, en­gag­ing way.

“What we want to do is cre­ate con­nec­tiv­ity,” said Cu­cuz. “As it re­lates to Yorkville, the com­mu­nity as a whole, there’s not a ton of ef­fi­cient and eye­catch­ing con­nec­tiv­ity. You can walk be­tween some of the build­ings, but it was never re­ally well thought out, and it was never in­spir­ing, with a com­mu­nity feel.”

Baker said the res­i­dents have seen the pro­posal, and they are happy with what’s been pre­sented so far, in terms of height and use of laneways.

“There are some high-end re­tail­ers and more com­ing, but we still have a fair [amount] of lo­cal re­tail­ers and lo­cal restau­rants,” said Baker. “We would like it to stay where it is and not get too high end.”

How the site of Sum­mer’s Ice Cream might look if the plan goes through

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