Continuing our ongoing investigation of commercial real estate in Toronto, we look at what’s happening to a Dundas West property with a stellar patio, and a vintage ad to boot.
Location: 800 Dundas St. W.
Formerly: The front portion of the property was at one time the Landymore Keith Contemporary Art gallery. The back portion of the building was occupied by The Palmerston Café, a local haunt for lunch, brunch, and dinner that recently closed its doors in anticipation of its sale. The property is also notable for the large, but fading, Coca Cola advertisement that bears the decades-old slogan “Delicious and Refreshing. Sold Everywhere”.
Status: It’s complicated. The property is demarcated into two units: the front half, which is vacant and for lease, and the back portion, housing The Palmerston, which is on the market for sale. (Note: the business is for sale, not the property itself.) The building’s landlord (who also owns the Café) is hoping to sell the Palmerston to a tenant who will then rent out the entire ground floor of 800 Dundas W., taking advantage of the nearly 100 ft. of frontage on Palmerston Ave. and the outdoor patio space that comes with it.
Vacant Since: The front unit has been vacant for less than six months.
Size: 1,650 sq. ft. of retail space in total (the Café is about 1,000 sq. ft. and the front unit is 650 sq. ft.), plus about 1,000 sq. ft. in the basement that can be used for storage and has staff and customer washrooms.
Price: The Palmerston Café is currently on the market for $129,000. The rental price for the entire property will be $6,500 per month net.
Length of Lease: Once the property has been sold, the landlord is seeking a 10-year term for a lease.
Renovations required?: Realtor for the property Trevor Berryman of City Commercial Realty Group has confirmed that both portions of 800 Dundas St. W. are licensed, and connected internally to one another, meaning a restaurateur looking to take advantage of the entire space and the outdoor patio would only need to make minor, cosmetic changes.
What’s happening to it?: Interest in the property has been extremely high. “The only reason it’s still vacant is because it’s tied to the sale of the restaurant. Otherwise, I could rent the front portion in a New York second,” says Berryman. According to the realtor, corner units are always sought after, especially those on the northeast side, because they benefit from greater sunlight exposure (and 800 Dundas St. W. has a large west-facing patio*). Moreover, real estate on Dundas West is red-hot right now (some have pegged it as the nextOssington), with a slew of popular restaurants already on the strip (including Porchetta & Co. across the street, and Campagnolo and The Black Hoof just a few blocks west), as well as new hot spots opening, like Bent, the latest outpost of the Susur Lee empire.
As a longtime property owner in the area, the landlord, whose family has owned the building for a generation now, has community ties and, as a result, is very particular about who takes over the space. Berryman has even admitted that a national, triple net–type tenant—meaning the leaser would cover all expenses, including rent, maintenance, utilities, taxes, insurance, etc.—put in a large offer, but the landlord wasn’t interested, preferring not to let the area become overly commercialized. As of now, he’s still holding out for a strong independent operator who will “fit into the character of the neighbourhood, because he has a real emotional connection to this part of the city,” say Berryman.
CORRECTION, JUNE 21, 2012: The original version of this article stated the patio faces north-east when, in fact, it is located on a north-east corner and, therefore, faces west.