Toronto's Hard Rock is closing and will become a Shoppers Drug Mart
The Hard Rock Cafe opened its second ever location in the heart of Toronto at 279 Yonge Street in 1978. For nearly 40 years, it's been serving up pub grub with a side of rock and roll memorabilia to tourists and locals alike.
But come this spring, the Hard Rock Cafe by Yonge-Dundas Square will close its door. Afterwards, it'll reportedly become a massive Shoppers Drug Mart.
According to Retail Insider, the asking rent for this 22,000 heritage-designated space was $2 million per year, or double what the Hard Rock was paying.
The retail industry publication cites an unnamed source who says Shoppers Drug Mart will be taking over the Hard Rock.
Mark Garner, the chief operating officer and executive president of the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area, also says Shoppers is moving in.
The Downtown Yonge BIA covers ground from Richmond to Grosvenor and Garner notes this move reflects the changes happening up and down Yonge Street, especially as more high rise towers creep into this busy corridor.
Already, whole swaths of Yonge Street have been boarded up to make way for condos and many of the casualties have been small, independently owned business.
"If it's all big box stores, then how do you preserve the cultural heritage? This neighbourhood was designated as a cultural corridor back in 2013 and just based on real estate prices, this is what you're seeing," say Garner.
"It's a lot of the evolution. Only the big chains can afford to be there. If it's happening on Yonge Street, it's going to happen on Ossington soon," he continues.
This sort of evolution seems inevitable around Yonge-Dundas Square, but it's still unclear what sort of retailers will rent out the street-facing storefronts at the incoming condos nearby.
As for the Hard Rock Cafe, it plans to find a new Toronto location, but will stick around in its current spot until May.
"In May, the lease for Hard Rock Cafe Toronto, located on Yonge Street location in Dundas Square, will expire," said a rep from Hard Rock International via an email statement.
"Hard Rock International is reviewing other opportunities, both in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada, to expand its Cafe, Hotel and Casinos brands."
A Shoppers Drug Mart spokesperson confirmed Shoppers will be relocating its 10 Dundas Street East store to 279 Yonge Street. This new location should open before the end of 2017.
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