Popular Italian food concept Eataly intends to open its first Canadian location at Toronto's Manulife Centre, according to multiple sources. If built, Eataly will occupy three levels at the centre, with most of its space being on a new second-level retail floor currently occupied by offices. An article in Friday's Globe & Mail by Marina Strauss, however, indicates that the Bloor Street Diner, which operates in the centre, has won an injunction prohibiting Eataly from entering the complex.
It's still possible that the Bloor Street Diner will negotiate an agreement with Eataly's Canadian operation, which is 52% owned by the billionaire Weston family (who also own Holt Renfrew, directly across the street). If Eataly were to open at Manulife Centre, we've located floor plans as to how it will be configured, submitted by B+H Architects to the City of Toronto several months ago.
If it opens at Manulife Centre, plans show Eataly spanning three floors, with retail space on the concourse (basement), ground and second levels. A Bloor Street-facing ground level entrance would provide access upstairs via an elevator, staircase and escalators, and a concourse level retail space (with direct underground access to Holt Renfrew Centre across the street) would also provide Eataly access and signage. The vast majority of Eataly, however, would be on Manulife Centre's second level, which would involve carving retail space out of existing offices. Eataly's top level would feature frontage facing Bloor Street West, Bay Street and Balmuto Street. Plans indicate a retail space of approximately 39,000 square feet.
If built, Eataly would be part of an overhaul to Manulife Centre's retail podium, which is set to see its footprint expanded outwards along Bloor, Bay and Balmuto Streets. Renderings show glass-fronted facades as part of the expansion, with multiple new entrances, possibly for new retailers.
Hopefully Eataly can come to an agreement with Bloor Street Diner's parent company, paving the way for Eataly to open at Manulife Centre. It will be a great addition to a vibrant area that continues to see considerable new residential and retail development.