San Francisco-based fashion retailer The Gap will close its three-level store at 60 Bloor Street West in Toronto at the end of January 2021. The store has anchored the northeast corner of Bloor and Bay Streets since its opening in November of 1999.
A Gap spokesperson provided a statement to Retail Insider: “As part of our company strategy to adapt to the changing needs of our customer and growth of our online business, we are looking thoughtfully at our real estate to support the best path forward. As a result, we are closing a number of stores across the Gap Inc. fleet, including our Gap brand store on Bloor Street at the end of January 2021. We remain committed to making appropriate and timely decisions on stores that don’t fit our vision for the future of Gap Inc. We are confident these closures will help strengthen the health of our company moving forward.”
The Gap store spans three levels and almost 17,000 square feet. The street level spans more than 7,000 square feet and the second level is nearly the same size. A basement level adds nearly 2,800 square feet to the store. The store recently saw an exterior renovation as part of the overhaul of the 60 Bloor office tower that is owned by Morguard.
The corner of Bloor and Bay is considered to be prime property. Last year Birks CEO Jean-Chrisophe Bedos said that the intersection was the “best retail location in all of Canada” —that includes a Birks flagship store with an adjacent Van Cleef & Arpels boutique. For decades David’s Footwear occupied the northwest corner of the intersection at 66 Bloor St. W. until its bankruptcy last year, and Hakim Optical now occupies part of that space. A TD bank has occupied the southwest corner of the intersection at 77 Bloor Street West for decades.
The immediate area has seen some significant investments. Last year Manulife completed the overhaul of the commercial podium of the Manulife Centre at a cost of over $100 million that includes a new 50,000-square-foot Eataly location. Holt Renfrew, which is shut because of the pandemic, recently completed a renovation of its facade as well as the main floor luxury hall. Most of Cumberland Terrace, located to the north of the Gap will be demolished next year for a major redevelopment.
It’s Unclear What Will Replace The Gap Store After its 21-Year Run on Bloor Street
It’s unclear what might replace The Gap at 60 Bloor Street West. One rumour is that CIBC bank could look to occupy the corner, as CIBC’s street-level banking space at 2 Bloor Street West will eventually be incorporated into a larger redevelopment at that corner. A 3,800-square-foot retail space at 60 Bloor St. W. adjacent to Holt Renfrew is also for lease — despite being next to Holts’ street-level “world of” Saint Laurent boutique, the vacant 60 Bloor space may be difficult to lease given that it is not completely at grade.
This week it was also announced that The Gap’s three-level Chicago flagship store at 555 Michigan Avenue will also be closing in January. The Gap is reevaluating its real estate and is looking to close many of its stores in North America amid a strategy to operate out of strip malls and other rent-favourable retail locations.
Gap-owned Intermix at 130 Bloor Street West is also said to be closing in January of 2021, and The Gap has not yet confirmed this information. That space has already secured a new tenant with details to follow.
Bloor Street will struggle with vacancies in the coming months as some retailers have shuttered. Already, retailers J. Crew, Browns Shoes, Guerlain, Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, Mulberry, Michael Kors, Victorinox, MAC Cosmetics, and others have exited the street. Club Monaco at 153 Bloor St. W. and others will join it. At the same time, brokers say interest in leasing is picking up and negotiations for some spaces are ongoing.