Cumberland Cinema Facade Leased

Cumberland Cinema to become Nespresso outlet

The Cumberland Four - the former home of an Alliance and Cineplex brand movie house - will be "extensively redeveloped" from its existing cinema configuration so it can host a sprawling Nespresso coffee equipment store and cafe, according to Jordan Karp, the real estate agent that brokered the move.

The theatre closed Sunday after the landlord served Cineplex notice on their lease.

Under the still-secret designs, the existing concrete wall facing Cumberland Street (shown above) will be torn down and replaced by a 45-foot, all-glass facade. Inside, the theatre will be completely gutted and redesigned to provide a better layout for retail and hospitality. The work will start in June and take just over a year once the necessary approval process is complete.

Nespresso has yet to officially confirm that it has leased the property, but we're expecting word later today. The company, part of Nestle, currently runs 270 combined cafe and retail spaces in 50 countries around the world, including a smaller "coffee boutique" at Queen and Yonge.

Rumours that the theatre would be demolished and replaced by condos seem to be unfounded but the extent of the renovations might upset many people fond of the well-known art-house cinema. How do you feel about the arrival of Nespresso in Yorkville? Will you visit the coffee shop when it's finished?

UPDATE: 16:19

After speaking on the phone with Jordan Karp from the real estate company handling the move a few more details are available about alterations to the theatre. It seems the most striking element will be the fully re-worked glass facade that will allow a full view into the building from Cumberland Street.

"The concrete you see right now facing Cumberland will be replaced by two-and-a-half storey high glass," says Karp. "Right now if you went into the building you have basically a bunch of concrete and fire escape doors. [Nespresso] will be relocating the fire escapes, they'll be doing some major interior relocation." The work will also include improvements to a laneway entrance to the building from Bloor Street.

The landlord, EmTwo Properties, is reportedly working with designs by Turner Fleischer - the firm behind the recent Maple Leaf Gardens renovations. Several other high-end fashion companies expressed an interest in the theatre during an international advertising campaign but Nespresso was apparently chosen for "something of quality that would bring excitement to the Yorkville neighbourhood," said Karp.

Strangely, still no official word from Nespresso, though a representative from Nestle tells me that a statement is in the works.

UPDATE: 11:11, 9/5/2012

Statement from Nespresso:

"We are eager to bring the Nespresso culture to Toronto and are looking at a number of locations for our boutique but have not confirmed a site as of yet. Nespresso entered the Canadian market six years ago with a Boutique in Corner in Toronto, then in 2009 it opened a Nespresso Boutique Bar in Montreal, and we look forward to sharing our unique coffee experience with Canadians across the country and in years to come."

- Jacques Demont, Managing Director, Nespresso Canada

So it's not a done deal yet and there's plenty of mixed messages coming from the parties involved. Watch this space for more.

Photo by mondomark in the BlogTO Flickr pool.

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