These days “For Lease” signs are plentiful on Robson Street and more are expected to come. Vancouver’s iconic street is going through a longer than expected transition as high rents and demo clauses are causing potential tenants to hold off from signing leases. And it’s not just the smaller spaces taking longer to attain new tenants it’s also the larger spaces like HMV and Esprit. Although this may seem alarming to some and bring joy to others (looking at you Mount Pleasant and Gastown) the end game will mean more new choices on THE Vancouver Street.
Once the Starbucks on Thurlow and Robson closes this May, that will leave three prominent corners empty. Burrard and Robson sits empty. The building currently under construction at Robson and Granville (the building that revealed the amazing ghost sign from the early 1900’s) still has yet to be leased. Robson and Bute has never been all that great, however, I do love the 24 hours Steamrollers Restaurant. Add to the fact that Sears is vacating and that means suddenly a lot of prime retail market space is coming on to the market.
Robson is not like like Rodeo Drive or Park Avenue. Landlords need to understand that. Currently 20 or so properties sit vacant on Robson Street. How many are sitting empty on Rodeo Drive? Even with the economic calamity going on in the states there aren’t that many vacancies to be found. It may be time for landlords to reconsider lower rents on some of the smaller retail units, one that major international players aren’t as interested in.
However, all is not lost. Starting at Robson and Granville, rumour has it that Apple is once again interested in that space after they pulled out of a deal across the new J.Crew. It would be the perfect spot for them to build a multilevel flaghship location, something they have been wanting to bring to Vancouver for quite some time now. As for the old HMV location, the current rumour out there is that Victoria’s Secret and Pink by Victoria’s Secret will be taking up that space. The largest retail space available will be absorbed by Nordstrom as they are expected to take over the old Sears building.
In the long run Robson street will be better and rents will remain high. Recent additions of J.Crew and CB2 have cemented its reputation of the place to be for retailers. Soon Forever 21 will open up and that will bring a major increase in foot traffic, too bad the sidewalks aren’t wide as the street is about to get busier.
Here are a list of stores we feel that would fit perfectly on Vancouver’s iconic street:
Image by Ariane Colenbrander