August 27, 2014
An anonymous source forwarded us a lease plan, solving the mystery of the location of minimalist Japanese retailer Muji's first Canadian location. Measuring almost 4,400 square feet, Muji will be smaller than we initially expected, compared to some of its American stores.
We were initially alerted to Muji opening at Toronto's Atrium on Bay by Urban Toronto's ACT7, who forwarded us a City of Toronto Building Status Application indicating that Muji will locate in space C-03 of the retail complex.
We weren't sure which space C-03 was, exactly, until we were provided a lease plan indicating that the 4,373 square foot space is the former location of Black's Photography, with street frontage on Dundas Street West, near Yonge Street.
Many of us initially expected that Muji would replace apparel brand Guess, which recently vacated its multi-level space with a municipal address of 306 Yonge Street. Urban Toronto's soundmuseum, however, discovered signage indicating that a pop-up Halloween-themed retailer will move into Guess' space, at least until the end of October.
For comparison, Muji's San Jose store is about 4,590 square feet, while its Manhattan location at the Forrest City Ratner building measures about 5,000 square feet. Its two Los Angeles-area stores are larger, however -- its Santa Monica store is about 6,300 square feet, while its Hollywood store spans 8,600 square feet. Muji currently operates nine American stores. Five are in New York City, and four are in California.
We're awaiting details of the locations of two more Toronto Muji stores, which are expected to open by the end of 2015. We're told that Muji locations will open across Canada soon after. Interestingly, Muji isn't using a Canadian brokerage to secure Canadian retail space. Rather, the retailer is coordinating securing its own Canadian leases.