Continuing our ongoing investigation of commercial real estate in Toronto, we look at a restaurant-ready space that’s part of an historic, 19th-century Elm Street property.
Location: 87 Elm St.
Status: Originally built in 1848 as a House of Industry, the property has had many different functions throughout its long history, providing shelter over the years to the homeless, unemployed, newly immigrated, orphaned, and abandoned. In 1947, it became the Laughlen Lodge, and was transformed into a residence for the elderly. Over the past year and a half, the YWCA (the building’s owner and operator), has spent over $100,000 renovating and restoring this heritage property, as well as constructing a brand-new, 300-unit apartment complex on the back.
Size: On offer is a nearly 4,000 sq. ft. interior restaurant space spread over two floors: The ground floor is just over 2,100 sq. ft., which provides ample room for a dining area, and the 1,800 sq. ft. basement contains the newly renovated kitchen. There is also an additional 1,200 sq. ft., northeast-facing patio off to the side of the building (pictured below).
Price: $40 per sq. ft. net, plus an additional $12 per sq. ft. for taxes, maintenance, and insurance.
Length of Lease: Because of the size and quality of the property, the landlords are looking for a future tenant to take on a 10–15 year lease at minimum.
Renovations required?: No. The upgraded kitchen includes walk-in fridges and freezers, hood fans and more. The dining-room area is currently decked out with exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, pot lights, and 12 ft. high ceilings, and a future tenant would be allowed to make cosmetic changes in order to personalize the space to their needs.
What’s happening with it now?: The property has only been on the market for about a month, but realtor for the space Arlin Markowitz of Cushman & Wakefield claims there’s been a great deal of interest so far. However, due to the size, price, and quality of the building, the landlords are being understandably picky. “We want something that’s kind of on the middle end,” says Markowitz. “We’re not going to put a Burger King in there, but we’re also not looking to put in another North 44. It’s got to be someone who can cater to the dense population of the area around the hospital, and perhaps someone who can provide catering for the YWCA workers and nearby apartment dwellers.” Markowitz adds that the landlords are also hoping to find someone that fits in with the community and possesses a certain level of social awareness—an understandable request given the property’s history of helping people.