By Craig Patterson
Vancouver-Based multi-brand women’s retailer Aritzia will significantly expand its store on Toronto’s Bloor Street West next year by annexing space formerly occupied by BCBG, as well as a former entrance to the Holt Renfrew Centre. When it opens in the spring of 2019, Bloor Street’s Aritzia will be one of the company’s largest stores.
The current Aritzia space at 50 Bloor Street West spans just over 4,900 square feet on one level. Holt Renfrew Centre’s former 5,050 square foot BCBG space, adjacent to Aritzia, will be merged with the existing Aritzia store that will coincide with a full renovation to reflect the brand’s updated aesthetic. As well, a street-level entrance to the Holt Renfrew Centre, located between Aritzia and the former BCBG space, has been shuttered to be integrated into the new Aritzia store, which will span almost 11,440 square feet on one level. That street level entrance was formerly used as an entrance point to music retailer HMV which had a store upstairs, as well as escalators downstairs into the Holt Renfrew Centre.
The downstairs escalators will be kept, according to Aritzia, providing direct access from Aritzia to the Holt Renfrew Centre concourse level below. A new illuminated marquee entrance will welcome visitors from the street level to the expanded Aritzia flagship.
The store’s interior will be renovated to reflect Aritzia’s updated aesthetic seen in newer stores such as the Chicago Gold Coast flagship that opened last year. The expanded Toronto store will feature plenty of natural light from the south-facing windows on its facade. The store’s interior will also feature “marble merchandising tables and cash desk, wire-wheeled oak tables and architectural wall panels, custom built-in millwork, custom graphic wall murals, steel and glass interior partitions, custom raked stucco walls, and polished concrete and herringbone marble floors,” according to Aritzia.
As well, the store will feature a lounge area, an eclectic selection of new and vintage floor fixtures, and curated works of art, sculptures and books. The design is described as being both "feminine and spacious", with plants throughout.
Aritzia has been upsizing many of its existing locations by annexing space to create flagships, as it continues to see success with its retail model that includes in-house as well as a selection of designer brands. The company’s in-house brands TNA, Wilfred and Babaton have all been expanded to include their own standalone stores in selected markets — in markets where Aritzia store real estate is constrained, the company has unveiled locations for these brands.
Aritzia’s Bloor Street store will be part of an impressive redevelopment of the area. Across the street, a soaring tower called ‘The ONE’ is now under construction, with a multi-level retail podium that many speculate will include a 19,000 square foot Apple flagship store. This spring at 1 Bloor Street East, Nordstrom Rack will open its third Canadian store in a space encompassing close to 40,000 square feet. The retail podium of the Manulife Centre at 55 Bloor Street West is undergoing a transformation that will see new and renovated store locations, as well as Canada’s first Eataly, that will span three levels and about 50,000 square feet. Holt Renfrew, located in the same complex as Aritzia, is also undergoing a piecemeal renovation that also includes adding more space, including recently leasing about 8,500 square feet of mezzanine space formerly housing the HMV music store. We’ll also soon discuss a significant development that will take place just steps away from the newly expanded Aritzia.
The Holt Renfrew Centre is a 247,000 square foot retail centre at 50 Bloor Street West housing a 190,000 square foot Holt Renfrew store, as well as several retailers that are located primarily on its lower-level, accessed from the city’s underground PATH pedestrian network that connects to adjacent commercial properties. According to the Retail Council of Canada 2017 Shopping Centre Study, the Holt Renfrew Centre saw annual sales in excess of $1,000/square foot last year.