Yorkville Retail Pedestrian Passage to See Impressive Transformation

By Craig Patterson

Toronto’s upscale Yorkville area is known for its north-south pedestrian passages that connect its blocks, and one of these is seeing an overhaul that will be a very welcome addition to the neighbourhood. Already, Canada’s top rated restaurant Alo is confirmed to be opening in the new ‘Yorkville Lane’ that has an address of 162 Cumberland Street, and upscale bag and luggage retailer Betty Hemmings will relocate to a new store across from its existing location, to coincide with its rebranding. 

The passageway is located between Cumberland Street and Yorkville Avenue at the base of an upscale condominium building that also features office and retail space at its base. The Pearl Group is a partner in the project that will see the overhauled walkway that will further connect the neighbourhood. 

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Updates will include new granite sidewalks that will be similar to those on nearby Bloor Street West, and a unique feature of the walkway will be ground lighting that will attract pedestrians to stroll even in the evenings. An updated design on Cumberland Street will welcome shoppers into the new ‘Yorkville Lane’, which will also feature a wider opening at its south end, as well as weather protection along the Cumberland Street frontage of the complex’s commercial base. 

There are retail opportunities in Yorkville Lane — several previous tenants vacated prior to its now in-progress overhaul, leaving behind retail spaces that are being redesigned for new, contemporary tenants. Anchoring the courtyard of Yorkville Lane will be restaurant Alo, which also operates on Toronto’s Queen Street West. Alo, which will feature a patio in the courtyard, was ranked as being #1 in Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants of 2017 and 2018

Upscale Toronto-based bag and luggage retailer Betty Hemmings will be relocating to a fresh new space across from its existing store. It’s part of a transformation for the storied retailer, which will be rebranding as part of its move while also celebrating 40 years in business. We’ll be profiling the new ‘B. Hemmings & Co.’ store when it opens later this year — the retailer has an incredible story to tell, with its expansive offerings that include bespoke bags carried by some of Canada’s most prominent residents. 

Yorkville Lane’s location is tremendous — the entrance to the Yorkville Village shopping centre is located across the street from the lane’s north entrance, which is anchored by upscale streetwear retailer CNTRBND to the west and CIBO Wine Bar to the east. Immediately west of the Cumberland Street entrance to Yorkville Lane is the nearly completed Cumberland Tower and Private Residences, which will feature some of Canada’s most expensive condominium apartments upon completion. Several of the building’s top floors will feature full-floor apartments exceeding 7,000 square feet each, with prices reported to be up to $25-million per home. 

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The entire Yorkville area is, in fact, home to some of Canada’s wealthiest residents — the rapidly growing downtown neighbourhood is becoming one of the most prestigious of its kind globally, similar in concept to Mayfair in London or New York City’s Upper East Side. Yorkville’s retail reflects its affluence — a few steps from Yorkville Lane on Yorkville Avenue are retail locations for names such as Richard Mille, Chanel, Christian Louboutin and Off-White and coming soon will be stores for Jimmy Choo, Brunello Cucinello and other luxury brands that will be announced as leases are executed. 

Yorkville Lane is being marketed by brokerage CBRE in downtown Toronto, under the direction of Arlin Markowitz and his team that includes Alex Edmison and Jackson Turner. According to CBRE, units range in size between 394 square feet and more than 6,000 square feet. Yorkville Lane is part of the Yorkville neighbourhood transformation and for retailers that are interested in being part of it, contact Arlin Markowitz at: 416 669 5382 or email: Arlin.Markowitz@cbre.com.

Craig Patterson, now based in Toronto, is the founder and Editor-in-Chief Retail Insider. He's also a retail and real estate consultant, retail tour guide and public speaker. 

Follow him on Twitter @RetailInsider_, LinkedIn at Craig Patterson, or email him at: craig@retail-insider.com.

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