Stockyards, Toronto: The Future of Retail?

Written by  //  August 16, 2012  //  Profiled Projects  //  9 Comments

cover photo

Located at the intersection of Weston Road & St. Clair Ave., the currently under development Stockyards project by RioCan and Trinity Development Group will include 550,000 sq. ft. of leasable retail and Canada’s first new-build Target. In a recent interview, Edward Sonshine of RioCan described this project and the ongoing trend to service the rapidly growing urban condo clientele as the future of retail in Canada. The National Post author, Garry Marr, even went so far as to title his article “What the mall of the future will look like“, but I’m going to attribute that to journalistic creativity rather than to RioCan.

No, this is not what the mall of the future will look like. First off, it’s not a mall – it’s more like a typical (in terms of tenant mix) outdoor retail centre crammed into onto a small urban site.  It’s still automobile oriented, and it’s still single-use (mostly). Having said that, however, I do think this is a very cool development and a great experiment for RioCan to test out ways to fit onto urban sites. A couple of the most interesting elements include:

  • A site FSR of 0.67, which is more than double your typical suburban retail FSR of 0.25-0.3.
  • A parking ratio of 3.5 spaces per 1,000 sq.ft., well below the 4-5 spaces typically required.
  • A really creative design for Target that hides 214 parking spaces and loading bays behind ‘liner’ retailers.
  • Convincing Target to locate in a second floor space.

Looking through the approvals, some other highlights include a requirement that 1% of gross construction costs are contributed to the Public Art program, the provision of bicycle parking spaces, and provision of medical office space. I also see an unfortunate requirement that a maximum of 10% of retail spaces be below 2,500 sq. ft. – I think somehow my planning colleagues think this protects street retail in existing neighbourhoods. No, it doesn’t protect existing street retail – that’s like thinking of the retail market as a giant game of tetris with different sized stores trying to fit into different sized spaces. That’s not how retail works. Also, how do you expect RioCan to create the kind of pedestrian-friendly environment they show in their renderings if most of the stores have to be bigger than 2,500 sq. ft.?

Overall, I think Stockyards is a good step in the right direction and, assuming it’s successful, will be an important precedent setting project that developers can point at to convince retailers to think more creatively.

The Stockyards, Toronto, Ontario

 Pre-Target 3D Fly-through

 

 Post-Target 3D Fly-through

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  • Akiva

    They should be looking at the Century 21 Complex in Flushing, NY for a model to follow in creating a multi-layer retail complex with adequate parking in an urban setting.

  • kris
  • Kristian
  • TorontoSteveD

    You are incorrect in that this is automobile oriented. It’s located on the St Clair West LRT and at the junction of the new Transit line. Additionally, Target is not on the second floor as you stated but will actually be a two level store. This IS the future as more and more people flock to the city and need places to shop. The internet doesn’t cut it when you need toilet paper and underwear. It’s far better looking and more interesting than a Yorkdale or Eaton Centre type megamall with over priced boutique shops and teens just hanging out. This is a welcome addition to the area.

  • I highly doubt the majority of customers will be arriving by transit, although I’m sure it will be a boost to their sales. The parking ratio is 3.5 per 1,000 sf after all… If the majority of sales are from automobile driving customers, then the project is automobile-oriented. So only time will tell on this one, but hopefully I’m proven wrong. We will have to do a consumer intercept survey to prove it! As for Target – makes sense, I guess that piece on L1 is their entrance – but it doesn’t look like a full floorplate, mostly just an entrance. Stockyards looks like a good project, but I think this is just an incremental step in the evolution towards more infill development. The Queen and Portland development is a better example, and I think the Globe & Mail site will be even better.

  • TorontoSteveD

    Definitely agree with you on Queen and Portland – Great example. Yonge & Gerrard multi – ground level shops (new Marshalls and Bed, Bath & Beyond) in the new condo tower are reminiscent of that project. I expect we will see a lot more like that. Curious about Globe & Mail – Not familiar with that one.

  • Pandashop

    Target self checkout service is terrible. Never took so long to check out at a self checkout counter. Apparently only one staff member is qualified to delete items from your station while two to three staff will have a coffee break beside your checkout. None of the cosmetics are testable. If you find one already open, don’t use it because it takes less than a minute before a staff member will tell you it’s not allowed. 🙁 Will need to buy our vacuum and Actifry cooker elsewhere now. Needless to say one staff had the time in their busy schedule to tell me where the bathroom was. Nice gentleman 🙂

  • Pandashop

    Target self checkout service is terrible. Never took so long to check out at a self checkout counter. Apparently only one staff member is qualified to delete items from your station while two to three staff will have a coffee break beside your checkout. None of the cosmetics are testable. If you find one already open, don’t use it because it takes less than a minute before a staff member will tell you it’s not allowed. 🙁 Will need to buy our vacuum and Actifry cooker elsewhere now. Needless to say one staff had the time in their busy schedule to tell me where the bathroom was. Nice gentleman 🙂

  • Lisa nguyen

    Stockyards mall lacks large shade trees, flowering plants lack
    so look stockyards mall seems desolate wilderness.
    Why not make a place for children to play, because the parents took the
    and will buy more.
    And inside the music stores such as Target lack of atmosphere in the shop tedious.