Optimism among the empty storefronts on Ste-Catherine St.
In the heart of what used to be a major retail artery in Canada, it is difficult to notice vacant storefronts.
On the south side of a block, 5 of the 15 storefronts are empty.
In another block, a temporary store selling men\'s suits at a clearing price replaced a part of a two-person --storey HMV.
On the section between Crescent Streetand Union Ave.
19 out of 136 stores
Almost 14 per cent.
It seems empty.
With the recent announcement, a garage clothing store on the street will be closed, along with the location of nearby explosives (both brands are owned by the same Montreal)
Based in the parent company), it is easy to assume Ste-Catherine St. is struggling.
But retail analysts, commercial real estate experts and local merchants \'associations say the appearance is deceptive. Ste-Catherine St.
Not falling, they said.
Despite some concerns, they are all optimistic about the future of Montreal\'s most iconic shopping street.
One reason for the first look is that some of the big shops on the street have closed in the past year, Executive Vice President Avi Krispine said
President and general manager of commercial real estate company CBRE Quebec business.
\"The problem here is not that there are so many stores that are closed, but that the stores that are closed have big footprints,\" Krispine said . \" His company was involved in some leasing activities on the street.
Two BCBG Max Azria stores in recent months
About 3,000 square feet each
He said it was closed with 4,500. square-
Guess the foot shop
The HMV store in Ste
Catherine and Pilster
Krispine said the 7,800 square feet on the first floor, combined with a portion of the mezzanine, made its closure particularly noticeable.
The vacancy rate of Ste extension-
Between guy St. Catherineand Robert-Bourassa Blvd. is 11.
Month, says Krispine.
That\'s too high, he admits.
But he said things began to change.
A restaurant is moving to an old guessing location and potential tenants are looking at the former BCBG store, he said.
Krispine added that other spaces on the street and in the center of Eaton are being renovated and merged with the adjacent complex les Ayres Mall, which attracts interest.
\"Now, in the market where you are looking for space, you have Michael Kors, Under, Uniqlo and Miniso,\" he said . \".
The last two brands are Asian brands: Uniqlo, a clothing retailer, is based in Japan and Miniso, a variety of stores, is based in China and has Japanese aesthetics.
This is a sign, says Krispine, that Asian investors are not only looking at residential properties in Montreal.
He said there is also a high possibility of opening cannabis retail stores in the region.
Other retailers have moved out of one place, but live in Ste-Catherine.
For example, those garage and explosives stores are closing, but after renovations, their location in the center of Eaton will expand, Krispine said.
There are other signs of confidence.
\"Landlords still haven\'t lowered their rents because they are still very optimistic about the amount of activity coming from outside the city,\" Krispine said . \".
Average rent on the street
Level store on Ste
According to a report released by real estate company cusman & Wakefield, Catherine is about $170 per square foot per year. For a 2,000-square-
Foot store, rent more than $28,300 per month. That makes Ste-Catherine St. the third-
After Bloor St in Toronto, it is the most expensive commercial street in the country. W.
Robson Street in Vancouver
Rent on the street is comparable to Carrefour Laval\'s rent, which is the highest in any shopping mall in the area.
While high rent is a sign of the confidence of the landlord, it is also one of the factors that lead to street openings, said Andrea prin, head of the local merchants association.
Poulin says the challenges faced by Ste
Catherine is not specific about the street;
There are broader factors at work, such as the rise of online shopping.
\"Yes, there are vacancies, but they are the same all over the world,\" he said . \".
\"On other commercial streets in Montreal, Europe, there are vacancies on American streets.
\"The number of places where people can shop is growing faster than consumer demand,\" said Poulin.
\"We don\'t have more consumers --
\"Consumers don\'t have more money to spend,\" he said . \".
Craig Patterson, founder and editor, said the buying model is also changingin-
Head of Online industry trade publications.
\"Consumers are spending differently, people buy more technology, and they go to more restaurants for experience,\" says Patterson . \" Patterson is a consultant to the Retail Council of Canada.
\"The cost of living in Montreal and other cities is rising, so there is less money for shopping --
People shop and consume in different fields.
\"In the town of Royal hills, it is intended to take advantage of some of these trends to provide important dining and entertainment products next to retail stores.
But Poulin said he is concerned that the project will have a negative impact on businesses in the city center, which will significantly increase the retail space in Montreal.
\"We are very worried,\" he said, \"because there is really no need.
Without more consumers, more space means \"everyone will do less business,\" said Poulin \".
The developers behind the project said they expected the project to work with off-
Island centers like Carrefour Laval and brosal\'s Dix30, not in-
They are investing heavily in hotels and residential developments attached to the Ogilvy store on Ste
Catherine is a sign of their sincerity.
Patterson says it\'s too early to say what impact Mount Royal will have on Ste.
Catherine and other commercial streets.
While megamall will be a different retail environment than the city center, he says, \"anything in the area will compete with Royalmount, which will be shiny”Ste-
Catherine also faces competition from other commercial streets.
Streets like St
Viateur in the plateau has long been home to local businessmen, and lululululemon recently opened a location on that street, where there are few or no commercial vacancies at all.
\"This is where the action is --
This is where people are going, \"said Andrew Cross, publisher of commercial real estate magazine Montreal space.
\"They also went to Griffin and little blogland.
\"At Mile End, more and more office tenants are driving the development of local retailers.
\"There are more people in the street who spend money there,\" Cross said . \".
But soon, Ste-Catherine St.
There will be a new look.
The construction of the revitalization of the streets has begun.
While Poulin is concerned about how the construction will affect the merchants, he thinks it will be good for them once the construction is completed.
\"We think it will be very useful to revive this street that has not been revitalized for many years,\" he said . \".
Poulin and Krispine said the building has had limited impact on merchants so far, but that could change.
Poulin is optimistic that the city will compensate merchants affected by the building, which will mitigate any negative impact.
Details on how to do this are still being worked out.
In a few weeks, a committee of experts and business delegates will begin meeting to develop an economic action plan for the city, members of the City executive committee responsible for economic and business development, Robert Bedley said.
The plan will include measures to help businesses affected by the building.
It is scheduled to be released by the end of five or mid-termJune.
\"We have been paying attention to the situation of Ste --
\"Catherine,\" said Bedley, whose city council district includes Ste-
Catherine in Ville
Mary east of RobertBourassa.
The new government has reviewed the reconstruction plan to ensure that the effect of the construction is worth it, he said.
Elements of the project-
Like an expanding tunnel and a heated sidewalk
This may have hindered the entry of the store, or caused the work to take longer, which may be abandoned in order to avoid affecting the merchant, he said.
But concerns about the effect of the building could leave some retailers hesitant about the open space on the street.
\"It could scare a lot of people away,\" Cross said . \".
\"They will have to withstand this storm, as we can see from other streets in Montreal, like St-
Dennis, could be a real blow to retailers.
\"The renovation of the streets will also reduce parking, which is already a problem in the area,\" said Poulin.
In order for commercial streets to flourish, he said, they must have the same conditions as shopping malls that attract people.
This means building more underground areas or building interior on them --
Ground parking, like the new manumanuvie with seven floors on itground parking.
Despite these challenges, Ste-
Catherine continues to attract interest and investment.
\"There are still many real estate investors willing to buy buildings on SteCatherine St.
We saw the Banana Republic building for sale at record prices
\"Prices fell last year,\" Cross said . \".
Many retailers feel the same way.
\"There are still a lot of people who want to hang their flags on that street,\" he said . \".