Hazelton Lanes' first phase, at 55 Avenue Road, was built in 1976 and measured only 60,000 square feet. Because it opened before CF Toronto Eaton Centre, it managed to secure more upscale retailers than it may otherwise would have. Hazelton Lanes almost tripled in size in 1988 by adding address 87 Avenue Road to its north portion, hosting even more luxury retailers such as Hermes, Gianni Versace, Valentino, Fogal of Switzerland, Emanuel Ungaro, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, and others. The recession which hit Toronto a couple of years later resulted in many luxury stores eventually closing at Hazelton Lanes. The mall's awkward configuration, low ceilings and inconveniently-located entrances further contributed to the mall's downfall. Hazelton Lanes eventually became more of a neighbourhood shopping centre (albeit an upscale one) of almost 237,000 square feet.
First Capital Realty bought Hazelton Lanes in 2011. Anchored by Canada's first (and sources say, most productive) Whole Foods location, the centre's landlord retained design firm Kasian to redesign the complex, and earmarked over $100 million to transform the centre into a bright, upscale 'neighbourhood centre'.
First Capital Realty also has big plans for the surrounding neighbourhood, including adding more luxury retail to the mix. Last year, it purchased several neighbouring retail properties, including 80-100, 102-104, 106-108, and 136-138 Yorkville Avenue. First Capital currently owns about 80% of the north side of Yorkville Avenue between Hazelton Avenue and Bellair Street and last year, we reported that the landlord would like to eventually own much of the commercial space on both Yorkville Avenue and Cumberland Street. So far, Chanel is a confirmed tenant in 2017 for an 8,400 square foot retail space currently occupied by Teatro Verde at 98 Yorkville Avenue (Teatro Verde will move into the former Hazelton Lanes mall) and several other luxury brands have shown interest in adjacent street-front properties.