It was only a matter of time before commercial rents along Queen Street became too expensive for your average mom and pop shop or just more than they want to spend on rent. This jump in Queen Street commercial rents has two outcomes:
Breeds Creativity & Better Business Planning
Many long standing commercial tenants were just simply stuck in their ways, old business models, narrow profit margins that worked fine in the old days with a different a demographic but the surge in housing demand in neighbourhoods along Queen Street East like, Leslieville, Corktown, Riverside, Riverdale, and even the Beach have caused demographic shift which in turn has changed the commercial needs of a neighbourhood.
Many long standing tenants have been lax with their lease agreements and some don’t even have one! Remember what happeend to the Real Jerk a while back? Ya, it most definitely sucked for the owners and for the neighbourhood (glad to see them open in a new spot now) but they didn’t have a lease in place (there’s obviously more to the story but that’s the gist of it). This was likely the most reported case in an area of rapidly increasing property values and rents.
Other businesses in the area were able to adapt to the new market conditions and increase profits which allowed them to stay in business. Look at the Ceili Cottage for example. They have a huge patio that was only profitable in the Summer. What do they do with that space in the cooler months? Duh, build a yurt! So smart, so very smart. Another great example is the Leslieville Pumps. A regular old gas station turned into an awesome BBQ joint with a small town feel. Just when you get used to everything they offer, the chef and owner is coming with something new and exciting to make sure you come back for more. It’s just smart business, there’s absolutely no time to get comfortable in business these days. These are just two of the many examples of businesses doing it right. Know any others?
Open up on Gerrard St
Most people associate popular neighbourhoods like Leslieivlle and Riverside with Queen Street East. Well, let me tell you something (I’ve been saying this for years!) Gerrard Street is the new Queen Street. Thanks to Leslieville business pioneer Ted Koutsogiannopoulos (formerly of Joy Bistro) his massive investment into Gerrard has paid off. He opened McGugans Pub (now closed and rebranded as Chula Mexican Restaurant), The Great Burger Kitchen, and Aprile Bambina Cucina(now closed and reopened as Polly Anna) at the corner of Jones and Gerrard. Shortly after home buyers who were getting priced out of “prime” Leslieville began to see value in homes on streets surrounding this new hotspot. Now you’ve got homes on Ivy selling for nearly a million dollars (yup a former TCHC property went for nearly a million after an amazing renovation). Another awesome place I love is called Matter of Time, it’s a fantastic little antique shop just South of Gerrard on Jones. So glad to see many amazing new businesses bring back the energy to Gerrard Street East!
That being said, there are still many great commercial opportunities along Gerrard Street East and some decent home buying opportunities too. Give us a shout to find out more.