I did the walk yesterday morning, thinking to avoid the Canada Day crowds. Probably a good idea, but boy was it hot!
Starting as always at the southern end of the Drive, the 2200-block is really active. I notice that the endmost new storefront, 2287 Commercial, on the west side has already been occupied by a new convenience store called Express News. The other two storefronts — 2285 and 2283 — are available but not yet filled.
I am pleased to report that Sweet Greek at 2227 Commercial (see review here) seems to be doing well. They now have a full range of tables, and are offering a $6 breakfast. Friendly people and well worth a visit.
Further down on that block, the single-storey building that has housed Universal Tech at 2211 since 1990 is now for sale. Universal is still open but it seems doubtful the building will survive much longer.
Across the street at 2270, Cabrito has a new menu that was featured this week at Scout magazine. My own review from last March can be found here.
Also in that block, a two-bedroom apartment was for sale in the Marquee for $699,000. It appears to have already been sold, but for those of us who haven’t been in the complex yet, the realtor offered some images.
In the 2100-block, the old two-lot Russell place is now framed up as a two-storey (or, I guess, a lofted single storey) with, perhaps, three or four storefronts on Commercial.
At 2058, the building is still for lease, but the laundry keeps operating.
Still vacant are the former Waves coffee shop at 1850 (4 months), the old Wonderbucks store at 1801 (5 months), and the storefront at 1735 Commercial (2 months).
The storefront at 1740 is also still closed (after 9 months) but it will very soon reopen as the Babylon Tea Company. They have done a nice job with new tiling on the front.
In a similar position is the old cupcake store at 1706 Commercial. the Van Classic bubble tea shop seems to be about ready to open but for now the storefront is still closed (7 months).
Dolce Amore at 1588 has reopened after their brief reno with a gelato mafia theme. I am reliably informed by the everloving that their new flavours are interesting and most of them work really well. Down the block at 1544, however, the Candy Aisle store seems to have failed, with a “For Lease” sign in the window.
Most depressing are the continued closures and vacancies at the old Strawberry Bakery site in Il Mercato (30 months), the Libra Room at 1606 (11 months), Roma at 1500 (8 months), Charlatan at 1447 (5 months), 1303 (9 months), 1108 (38 months), and 902 Commercial (26 months).
To end on a more pleasant note, the storefront at 952 (vacant for 10 months) is still closed but there are strong indications (via a sign and work on the interior) that a new branch of Joe’s Grill is about to open.
I am often asked by readers whether the number of vacancies on the Drive has increased recently. The following is a graph of vacancies over the previous two years. Ground floor retail storefronts on Commercial Drive are counted. Major building projects (REACH, the former Russell space on 2100-block, for example) are excluded.
Of more concern, perhaps, than the overall number of vacancies are the length of time certain storefront remain vacant. The following graph (which will become a monthly staple) shows the ageing of vacancies in July 2017:
Previous Changes on The Drive editions.