Unrealistic Expectations Everywhere – “Robson is like Rodeo Drive, it’s like Park Avenue” (But 20 Stores Sit Vacant)

Robson Street, circa 1974

“From the departed HMV to the bankrupt Blockbuster, empty stores dot Vancouver’s highest profile commercial street. West of Burrard, more than 20 retail properties on Robson sit empty. And realtors have taken note.
“For years you’ve never seen lease signs up and down Robson,” said Sherman Scott, associate vice-president at Colliers International, which currently has a number of properties open.
“Now there certainly are, which is unusual.”
Tourism Vancouver President Rick Antonson characterized the vacancies as part of a “transition” but he is bullish on the street’s long-term vibrancy.
“Some international operators can anchor a street and draw traffic. What one always wishes to avoid is a generic street or city. [But] Robson street will get through this transition and retain its reputation as having a healthy variety of retail outlets.”
Following the 2010 Olympics, prices climbed to new heights on Robson. According to one real estate report, the average rent last year was $240 US per square foot, trailing only Bloor Street in Toronto for Canadian supremacy.
“Expectations are changing on Robson. The value of real estate has increased,” said Mark Renzoni, managing director of CB Richard Ellis.
He did, however, admit “the economy is not as strong as we’d like.”

“I think you’re going to see a lot more American retailers moving in,” speculated Howard Malachy of DTZ Barnicke, which specializes in commercial real estate.
“Robson is like Rodeo Drive, it’s like Park Avenue. People want to be there to be there.”
–  from ‘More than 20 vacancy signs as Vancouver’s Robson Street undergoes ‘transition’ – Justin McElroy, The Province, 1 May 2012 [Image from Vancouver archives; hat-tip Nemesis]

We find the logic being used by the landlords bizarre and perverse.
They do not ask the question “What will the market bear?” but rather state, based on beliefs and not evidence: “Robson is like Rodeo Drive, it’s like Park Avenue”, and they then set accordingly unrealistically high rents. Unsurprisingly, their properties are sitting vacant.
Are there 20 stores sitting vacant on Rodeo Drive? Even in the midst of considerable economic hardship, no.
The logic is reminiscent of that heard in a recent CBC radio discussion about the closing of the Playhouse Theatre. The argument used by discussants was “Vancouver is a world-class city, it should have a very vibrant theatre scene”. No one asks “Vancouver does not have a spontaneously very vibrant theatre scene, is it really the ‘World Class City’ we imagine it to be?”
As we all know here on the Vancouver RE blogs, a similar unrealistic mindset has contributed to residential property prices that spiral ever upwards; a reconciliation with reality is coming.
Vancouver is a fine city, in many, many ways, and it’ll be that much finer when we see it for what it is, rather than for what some wish it to be.
– vreaa

83 responses to “Unrealistic Expectations Everywhere – “Robson is like Rodeo Drive, it’s like Park Avenue” (But 20 Stores Sit Vacant)

  1. Personally… I vastly preferred RobsonStrasse to the current iteration. European News anyone?


    • TeeHee!

    • Thanks for the link, Nem — popped the image up into the piece.

      For me Robson’s biggest step-down came with the closing of Duthies. I understand it was all part of a much larger transition (to the blockbuster booksellers) but it really did deal the street a blow, IMHO. On sunny days there used to be 3 or 4 chess boards going in that space between Duthies and the VAG. Nice vibe. Where do people play outdoor chess downtown nowadays?
      Duthies was replaced by some concern selling something that isn’t readily apparent from a glance at the window… something clear, watery, and filled with concept, I’d imagine. I genuinely still don’t know what they sell. Very seldom see customers entering or leaving that store. What do they sell?

      • If you ever get a chance to read some of Stephen Osborne’s essays on the Vancouver of the past (and occasional snippets of Vancouver today)… that’s the Vancouver that I love.

        This phony-baloney “Robson = Rodeo” junk where “Rodeo” means high-end chain boutiques and other similar mean-nothing, vapid, consumeristic values is not Vancouver. Or at least, is not what Vancouver was.

        It’s like this city went from being a nice “girl next door” to a painted up cougar stalking the local watering hole. All in the space of a decade.


        Stephen Osborne:



      • Picking up on EG’s MostExcellent analogy…. YVR as “MaryAnn” circa ’68…

      • And… FastForward to 2012…

      • +1, e.g. will find time to take it in. eg/nem, i imagine a less charitable metaphor, fair van of our memories is selling him/her-self to the high bid … midnight cowboy?

      • Yep. Perfect.

      • Interesting analogies. Dorian Gray also comes to mind (as you’ll recall, the handsome man in “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde who, IIRC, seems ageless over time but whose true corruption shows up in a mysteriously changing portrait).

  2. 20 Stores is a alarming. That’s like what, 15% vacancy in one of North America’s most dense streets in terms of doorways into retail space (read somewhere before)? I hear from friends in Vancouver that Broadway is seeing some vacancies as well.

    Has the gentrification of Granville St and Coal Harbour changed the dynamics of supply on Robson? Last time I was there, these areas were seeing some major retailers move in.

    I do wonder if we will see some of the older buildings on Robson get acquired to be redeveloped. The money supply environment is accommodative of such a scenario. Especially if the lot is big enough to fit in some parking spaces plus, dare I say, residential units.

    • 1. If the money supply environment is so accommodative, why aren’t people spending it hand-over-fist on Robson Street?
      2. Ripping down retail units and building condo units (as is happening in different parts of the city, Broadway an example), is just a way of funnelling debt-driven speculative demand into failing concerns. If there isn’t real demand for retail, and there isn’t real demand for condos (Gateway sold out, yes, but the 415 units went to just 130 buyers (read, speculators)), we should all take pause.

      • 1. There are other policy factors that could explain the decline of retail in Vancouver. One is that the stronger CDN has attracted more shoppers to head south.

        The other, which may be harder to see on the ground in YVR, is that with the stronger CDN international retail brands are choosing other parts of the world to set up shop.

        Also, maybe there is more supply of retail space in downtown as well? (I don’t know)

        2. ‘Funneling debt-driven speculation’ is a result of monetary policy and not the developers or the banks. Market forces dictate what risk/rewards are viable. Developers simply reflect the economic landscape and so are not the problem as they are playing within the rules.

        The buck should stop with the government and there is a lot that Vancouver, BC and Canada can do if only the political will was there.

        As for a downturn, the numbers just don’t support a collapse in Canada. The country is more robust than most here believe. High prices have never been a reason for prices to decline. There NEEDS to be a catalyst and that catalyst is no where on the horizon with the caveat of blackswans. But blackswans are like hitting a flush.

        Yes the stakes are higher now than ever but just how are property prices going to crash to 2003 levels when interest rates are set to remain low? A small retreat is the most quantifiable outcome at this stage – all else is speculative.

      • @blm. taleb himself has taken pains to broadcast that the system exits in worse condition not better from each crisis … ergo expect black swan crescendo until structural issues are dealt with

      • BLM -> Your response is broader than my questions merit, but, regardless:

        1. So, with your predictions of an ongoing strong loonie vs USD, how do you see retail going from here?

        2. I wasn’t blaming developers, just pointing out what is happening: Developers see the opportunity to cash in by selling to condo speculators, so they do it. This is what’s happening.

        Regarding your other points:

        Which ‘numbers’ don’t support a crash in Canada? How about price:income, price:rent and price:GDP numbers? What do they suggest? (Not just to me, to commentators like The Economist, Shiller, etc, etc)

        What do you mean “High prices have never been a reason for prices to decline”? You don’t believe that affordability levels can be overstretched to the point they can’t increase anymore?

        There does not need to be a catalyst for a speculative mania to end. Speculative manias run out of fuel, they collapse under their own weight, they run out of new players.
        In retrospect people almost always blame a collapse on something, but often it’s an irrelevant factor. The bubble was going to burst anyway.
        Sure, rising interest rates would do it, but that’s not necessary.

        On what do you base your judgment that “A small retreat is the most quantifiable outcome at this stage – all else is speculative.” We’d say your guess that any retreat will be small is as speculative as any other prediction.

        When you say “blackswans are like hitting a flush” do you mean on the flop, on the turn, or on the river? Very different numbers. And people hit flushes all the time.
        Regardless, a blackswan event isn’t necessary for Vancouver RE to undergo price collapse.

      • @chubster, Indeed the frequency of blackswans have increased and that that structural issues that lead to them have not be resolved.

        But one would not be wise to bet on a blackswan event as they are unpredictable. Statistically, the odds of a blackswan event is what, 1/100? I’m not taking that bet.

      • @VREAA

        1. With a stronger CDN and Canada’s small market size, one can assume limited upside for retail rents for the short-medium term. The higher CDN is also limiting tourism flows which may also partially explain why Robson shops aren’t doing so well. (Are those luggage, magnet and smoke salmon/maple syrup shops still there?)

        I’d really like to answer the rest of your other questions but it is midnight here and I do have a day job to attend to in the AM. They are really good debatable questions which would require a lot of work to put together data and numbers. All I would end with is that we need a catalyst for a downturn otherwise we are only driven by fear and not facts.

      • “The buck should stop with the government and there is a lot that Vancouver, BC and Canada can do if only the political will was there.”…

        Just in BLM, Vancouver Point Grey elected a BurnabySouth ‘PotHead’ to run the province… (counterintuitively – as, back in the day, they wouldn’t be caught dead partying with anyone East of the ‘Wall’/GreatDivide)…

        [CBC] – B.C. premier suggests she smoked pot

        “I graduated from Burnaby South Senior Secondary in 1983 and there was a lot of that going on when I was in high school and I didn’t avoid it altogether.” – Premier Christy Clark


      • @blm. j’accuse … you toy with that term “black swan” far too loosely … with at least one eye open, they are no longer unexpected nor rare … they are certainties, with increasing scale and frequency, until the caveat of structural deficiency is addressed … the only odds worthy of estimation concern precision of their timing … damn, you play mean poker dude(tte) … may i inquire … how you come to be recruited to this end?

      • If it’s not unexpected or rare… it’s not a black swan. Now that they have a moniker, we can’t avoid the damn things.

      • @blammo … unexpected/rare for eyes_wide_shut crowd … apparently a large one still

      • 🙂 2 eggs over easy, hashbrowns, dry toast, coffee … an early (very) morning staple on lonsdale after laying down quick turns on deserted roads … was … is no more so i’m hearing 😦

    • There are “For Lease” signs all over Gr Vanc, not just on Robson St.

      How many times has the old library location changed hands in the last 10-15 years? Come on folks, just turn this into a T&T Supermarket and get on with it. Come to think of it, I wonder how long it will take before the powers that be will be forced to close the new library (which no one even visits anymore) and turn it into condos? It is also very interesting indeed that one of Starbucks outlets (that are kitty corner to each other @ Robson/Thurlow) is closing too. If that is not THE red flag of red flags, I don’t know what is then. The assumption by many that there would necessarily be a major retail transformation overnight in many Vanc markets (following the RE boom) was simply wrong. The closure of many upscale eateries all over the city should also serve as a warning that all the so called market experts were way off the mark. I have also had many US cruise passengers tell me that their visit to downtown Vanc was rather underwhelming when compared to previous stops in Seattle and especially San Francisco (two cities we are often compared to).

      IMHO, the cross border shopping issue is also significant. Given the recent surge in Nexus card applications, the new and relaxed attitude at Cda Customs and the collapsing USD, I am not the least bit surprised that many Cdn retailers are now hanging on for dear life. The new cross border shopping exemptions will only add fuel to the fire. Like it or not (this is a debate for another day), most of the people I know do much of their shopping south of the border as prices for basically everything from clothing and electronics to food, liquor and gas are far lower.

      Perhaps some of the posters here will be proven correct and some of this space will get “developed”? Or maybe Robson will be further transformed into more of an apres “planche a neige” for all the monied Asian ESL students (who don’t shop here) meaning we can expect even more Chinese noodle houses, Korean BBQ, bubble tea cafes and Japanese izakaya joints littered among the numerous novelty and souvenir shops. Vancouver has got many decades of growing up to do before one can even mention it in the same breath as NY, London, Paris, LA, SF and even Toronto or Montreal. For now, it remains a sleepy little hockey town with a whole bunch of empty glass towers, a bike lane, an annual fireworks display, an expensive (yet remarkably unimpressive) downtown to YVR shuttle and an aging sports stadium with a $563M leaky roof (which is very fitting indeed).

    • Just curious, but is there a economist that works at your workplace? I’m curious as to what thier take on Vancouver/Canada is. I know you work in Banking/Finance but with alot of banks hire economists, I’m curious as to what the economist at your workplace would say in regards to Vancouver/Canada.

  3. i want that pl510

    • HeeHee! My stock DOHC AluminumHemiHead 4SPD ’73 Colt used to EAT BRE 510’s for BreakFast, Chubster… and then we’d go to Binos.


      • i respet tha colt … however, an unworthy opponent, i’d wager … i may be your measure … sir_nem

      • “The outstanding discovery of recent historical and anthropological research is that man’s economy, as a rule, is submerged in his social relationships.” – Karl Polanyi

      • jeez … pleasantations by video cc are so null …
        sir_nem, you indulge me in some very fond adolescent memories … i never managed the time nor budget to compete with helmets… but one outright joy of youth was a 72-240z, stock motor, full-race nissancomp coils, koni, dunlop bias ply vintage rain rubber … super light, butter soft compound, dead silent drifts, amazing forgiveness, tamed all the quirks – mine and the cars … where the terrain did not too advantage power, i never had to concede … 911 turbo was a favorite mark

      • midnite toker

        Man, I can’t believe Bino’s closed! This place is changing

      • @Chubster… 72-240z!!! Cue Wayne’sWorld, “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!”

      • @nem. my binos comment went to wrong part of the thread. the 240 looked AMAZING with 225 rubber and those springs – a 3″ drop. but also possessed some of usual rotting structural issues … fitting for this post. damn it, of course this was completely unnecessary, but i always heel-toe double-clutch downshifted into turns, just in case of daylight to hammer out the other side … omg – i’m in a dream

  4. I don’t get it, I’m not familiar with commercial but it seems the entire city’s commercial space is attempting to raise its rents. I feel like I’m missing something, like say are loan spreads widening?

    • Or is this a ‘sticky prices’ phenomenon (our hunch).
      Owners saying “This is what our property is ‘worth’, this is what we should get for rent, so that’s what we’re asking”. (Then sitting around and looking at each other).
      But vacancies cost a lot in these properties, you’d think they’d negotiate price at some point.

      • Anonymouse

        Obviously they’re all amateurs who have no idea about something as fundamental as setting rents, unlike the experts here.

      • Sure, we’re not the ‘experts’ but sometimes the ‘experts’ can’t see the forest for the trees. Naive external perspective can be useful.
        Is it ‘expert’ to be sitting with empty rental properties waiting for somebody big to come and sign a massive lease?
        We can imagine the math: Lose up front, but score big when you eventually sign the massive lease with a big-name tenant. But what if that tenant never shows up?
        And is it ‘expert’ to see Robson as Rodeo or Park?

      • procrustes

        News story the other day about the duelling Starbucks becoming a thing of the past due to a steep rent increase.


      • I don’t know vreaa, I think there has been some turnover in retail recently and it smells to me like there’s a giant yield chase going on. About 50% of the market is owned by private investors. If there’s enough turnover, or simply assuming new management when cash yields in other investments are getting squeezed, that will start percolating down into rents. We’re only starting to see it now because of lease durations but it’s likely been a few years in the making.

        That’s my read on this. It doesn’t make much sense to me, is all, unless margins are getting squeezed. Smells to me like “under new management”.

        Here’s Collier’s recent Q1 report on retail in Vancouver

      • Anonymouse

        Yes, perhaps holding out for maximal rent – even if that means an empty property for an extended period – is the optimal strategy.

        If that’s what they’re doing, there’s obviously a reason for doing it – that reason is usually money. Unless you think commercial landlords collectively just don’t get it.

    • hearing many of mineral explorers bailing … weird … perhaps the ownership/mgmt overestimates their market cap … -tivity … ha-ha

    • I’m curious if anyone has an idea on how much HAM has gone into commercial properties? That would be really interesting to hear.

    • Jesse, I find also this confusing but am not well informed.

      Can you explain what “loan spreads widening” mean? I usually shut up and google, but in this case I’m not sure what I got back is what you mean, especially taken with that Colliers report.

      Which seems pretty darn upbeat although frankly, it’s as confusing. They show lots of new stock in the pipeline with a lot of anchor tenants to be determined; admit that mid-priced retail is failing and cheaper US chains are taking over because people are value shopping; lose tenants due to price; then point to an uptick in retail that to me looks commiserate with immigration and inflation and say it’s good times and stability ahead.

      So, do you mean that those holding commercial properties are being charged higher interest on loans and are passing that forward? I’m missing something.

      • Absinthe I don’t know commercial space well so I’m analysing this like I would any industry. If there has been large amounts of turnover of management in the past few years they will want to start to push yields up, in part because they likely bought with low yields, and that is part of the play here. If there has been a recent change in financing terms that will force many to leave a stable client offering stable cash flow and try to get revenue up.

        Maybe it is the case that higher-earnings businesses are looking to expand into Vancouver and landlords are prepping for this, but at first glance it looks like a few big names without a lot of exposure to Vancouver other than some insight they have garnered from some local connections and some of their own analysis from “back east” looking for expansion ops. To justify the increase in rents they will need to either increase sales volumes significantly over previous tenants or offer higher margin offerings. Maybe they are seeing something I’m not, namely an increased propensity for people in Vancouver to shop at higher-end stores, though it escapes me where the income is going to come from.

        I’m not stating that commercial landlords are idiots, more that the numbers aren’t making sense to me in aggregate. I’m trying to figure out if this is a demand-driven push that offers higher revenues, or expenses have started to increase either from lenders increasing lending rates or from new owners (including REITs) overpaying.

      • Thanks Jesse. I understand the hypothesis now.

    • Patricia Croft cannot see the copse from the spinney.

      • Yeah, if one hears one more “You can’t identify a bubble while you’re in it” quote….
        You’d think that after “30 years of bubble watching” she’d know that it’s only during bubbles that people say “You can’t identify a bubble while you’re in it”.

  5. “Indeed, Vancouver’s 50,666 business licence numbers in 1998 actually declined slowly and unsteadily until 2007 when they reached their nadir of 46,555. Then they crept back upwards to 50,712 – 0.09 per cent higher than where they started 12 years earlier.“


    The only new businesses I am seeing are payday loans and donair shops pretty much-


  6. Another issue isn’t just high rents (whether they are increasing or not), but commercial property taxes have gone up between 10%-20% per year for the last 2-3 years (as assessments rise). So that $200 psf number on Robson is actually closer to $275 once CAM and tax numbers are taken into account. Many landlords don’t seem to care as they offload these costs to the tenant, but obviously the tenant has to be able to make the numbers work. If they can only afford just over $200 psf, something has to give and it is going to have to be the lease rates.

    I do agree that landlords, the Robson Street Business Association, and most of Vancouver in general think much more highly of Robson Street than they should. Have any of these people comparing it to Rodeo or Park Avenue (or even Bloor) ever actually been to those places? Robson isn’t really that special. If we wake up and realize that maybe we can fix it’s issues and aim for something better, rather than just believing it is already so and demanding ridiculous rents. Honestly I think Granville might be better in the long run, and I think the wider sidewalks have something to do with it.

  7. Renters Revenge

    Nice instagram filter!

  8. What a dumb article. HMV went bankrupt, blockbuster went bankrupt, nothing to do with Robson. J.Crew just opened shop, Nordstroms is taking over the old Sears building, Crate & Barrel is looking to move into the old HMV space, Bloomingdales is moving into the Bay…seems like things are healthy. Ironically, anyone who understand real estate knows that higher vacancy can actually mean higher demand, because landlords push up vacancy to get higher rents, rather than the old tenants.

    • I don’t think all these moves have been confirmed yet. That being said, all the names you mentioned are US co’s. As I mentioned in my more detailed post earlier, many will visit the stores here to simply browse and view what they will buy the next time they go down to the US.

      • And US tourists won’t be interested in going shopping for J Crew or Nordstroms when in a foreign city.

      • @ Snats
        Firstly, there aren’t as many US tourists coming here with the dollar being so high. Second, why would those that do come here buy the same stuff they can get back at home for 40% less?

      • Exactly.

    • Well Thomas, maybe things are healthy…?
      Better book your table for the “Roarin’ 20’s” Mother’s Day brunch over at the newly revamped Rosewood Hotel before they’re all gone! It’ll only set you back just shy of $300 to take your wife and two kids, but hey, it’s all good, right?

    • ” landlords push up vacancy to get higher rents”

      So… landlords push up rents… by… not… collecting… rents. K.

      • ” landlords push up vacancy to get higher rents”

        So… landlords push up rents… by… not… collecting… rents. K.

        normally you’re pretty insightful – but the above statement is incredibly naive. Commercial landords will leave their locaiton vacant for months on end looking for the right occupant. Check the vacancy on Hornby at Nelson if you want a first hand example; it must have been vacant for a year before they finally found the correct tenant. It’s called short term pain for long term gain.

      • Of course a complicated capital asset with relatively few prospective tenants can take months and sometimes years to fill.

        But that misses what’s going on here, that rents are collectively being raised city-wide. Either tenants start raising their earnings, wrought almost exclusively through local consumption, or these rents aren’t going to stick. Right now I’m not seeing much in terms of wage growth in Vancouver, and the FIRE industries are oversubscribed given lacklustre population growth, so somebody is going to be caught short. I just don’t know which one of these landlords it’s going to be.

        BTW a real recession has tons of commercial vacancies. I remember Toronto in the ’80s. Now the claim as I understand it is that the high level of vacancies on Robson today is simply a transition hiccup to higher end clients. I’m sceptical that’s a winning gambit.

    • Thomas, I agree with you. HMV/Blockbuster (also Rogers Video on Davie, and the independent DVD rental store across the street from it) closing have nothing to do with the street they’re on, or Vancouver. It’s because they persue a failed business model.

  9. jesse- yeah, it takes some brain power to understand what i said, and also some real estate experience. a landlord has a choice of being 100% occupancy, taking whatever rent right away, or leaving a property open asking a higher rent, looking for a particular tenant. given these leases tend to be 10 years, with rolling 5 year options after that, the cost of leaving something open for a longer period of time can be very lucrative if and when you get the perfect tenant looking for a particular space. each tenant has different needs in terms of size, location, price, etc. property is not a pure commodity. so quoting average dollars per square foot, while fun on a blog, misses lots of parts of the equation. the HMV space has been vacant for a while, not because there’s not interest, but because the landlord knows they can search for a high paying tenant and lock it down for many, many years. Did nobody on here notice that Brookfield, the landlord, PAID Sears tens of millions of dollars to vacate its space on Robson Street? Why would they do that? Because they’re idiots?? Obviously because they have a tenant looking to pay big dollars to be on Robson.

    • specialfx3000

      I would be curious to learn more about the tens of millions paid to Sears for leaving that location… source?

      • Anonymouse

        The source for Sears being paid $170m to leave 3 of their locations by Cadillac Fairview is the Vanvouver Sun (and many others). It’s easy enough to Google.

    • Thomas, see my note above. My comment is that the earnings potential of the businesses thinking of setting up shop in Vancouver has risks. Local incomes are not increasing at the rate these rents are, and there is evidence a large part of BC’s PDI has been dependent upon a cash flow stream that is unsustainable — rising residential property values.

      But thanks for the tip on the brain power. I leave the thoughtful analysis in your more-than-capable hands.

  10. Ok, OK, I blame HAM for Eatons and Woodwards too.

  11. I have a someone who is close to my family who used to own a business right in the heart of the busiest section of Robson Street for over 20 years. It was a very large space 10,000+ sqft. And just a couple of years ago they were forced to move because the taxes went through the roof and they couldnt afford to pay them. So they moved to another section of Robson street. Having lost alot of previous clientele, he’s now selling the business because there just isn’t enough customers. It’s sad, but this was a very old established restaurant business. Now he’s lost everything. I wonder how many others are in the same boat.

  12. 4SlicesofCheese


    #1 Ski in the morning and spend the afternoon on the water

  13. I don’t want to sound unprecietive toward Canada, my adapted home country. I love Canada and Vancouver and all that. But for whatever reason, it is such a bad place to run a business in general. First you are on you won when you start a business without any help from any government, then once you have a little success with all the hardworking and some luck, gov tax you to death. Boy, they really do make sure you are dead dead.

    As there is a saying in Chinese community: if you hate someone, persuading him to start a business in vancouver.

    The city only cares about chicken, bike or wheat etc, it is just such wired place that seems everyone hates business.

    • “gov tax you to death”

      …and part of that tax money goes towards social programs, community centers, public education, etc. Which all probably contribute to your reasons for loving Canada and Vancouver and all that.

      • I don’t think the original poster again paying business tax, but to what degree? Lots of local white Canadian would agree with him. There is no need for any grandstanding here.

      • only when conducted with competence and virtue

  14. Toronto — Sears Canada, Inc., an arm of Sears Holdings Corp., said Friday it has completed the transaction with landlord The Cadillac Fairview Corp. to return three stores for $170 million.

    The stores – located in Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa – are slated to be exited by Sears as of Oct 31, 2012. The agreement between Sears and the landlord was first announced in March.


  15. Carioca Canuck

    I just came back from a week long business trip in Nanaimo on Sunday. Now, I fully realize that it’s not Vancouver, but it is close enough to relate to.

    Sort of…..

    Oh well……

    In the downtown core (FWIW) as I walked along the streets a couple of nights in a row, I couldn’t help but notice several trendy looking shops and bars had closed for business and were for lease. In fact, I’d say that about 1 in every 6 to 8 store fronts I passed were empty and available along a number of blocks in the best part of the central area of the city. I think that they should call the city “Motelmo” because that is all that seems to be there (besides the usual national franchise chains that opened up during the boom) and are supposed to be supported by a reliance on the apparently non-existent tourism trade that has all but dried up (if it ever really was there at all on day one).

    Every morning our group (there were 4 of us from YYC) would enter any of the 2-3 different Tim Horton’s along the highway on the way to our business meetings and the look of sheer shock and horror on the face of the clerk at being overrun by the “teeming throng” was just too much !! LOL !! They should come here and see what a Timmies is really like during rush hour. Enter any Tim Horton’s here in YYC and it’s staffed by hustling foreign workers imported on a special visa just for the job that the locals won’t do @ $10 an hour. In Nanaimo the Tim’s employees looked like a meeting of the Harper Valley PTA……….an economic sign of the times I guess…..and they’re just 15 minutes away on Air Canada Jazz from the “BEST CITY IN THE WORLD”…….not my words….LOL !!!

  16. Beyond Debt

    This is from the comments section of http://ca.news.yahoo.com/kitty-corner-vancouver-starbucks-close-down-013459808.html

    “Jacob”(posters name)
    “This just in today from Vancouver’s province newpaper: “There are over 20 vacant storefront properties along Robson’s street” but I beg to differ..
    I have travelled numerous times along Robson street, and tha number is higher
    than” more than 20″.What was mentioned in today’s newpaper was a lowball figure mentioned from a commercial property manager! Of course, it’s in their best interest to minimize the real stats to avert fear from commrcial tenants that are pondring continuing their leases or terminating them once they are legally coming to an end. Just food for thought..As I previously mentioned, The City of Vancouver has some of the highest commercial leases in the country. Vancouver’s suburbs on the other hand have much more attractive rates competitive and realistic to business needs. In the last 25 years, Vancouver has gotten rid of prime Industrial land in favour for condos, and in Burnaby, Richmond, Delta, and especially Surrey, that number has certainly increased. Not only havejobs migrated to the suburbs, but property taxes as well. Oh, and by the way..there are a huge glut on unsold condos, and empty
    unrented condos bought by speculative foreign investors, nevermind unrented and empty detached houses all over Vancouver bought by overseas investors.
    Going back to the subject on commercia leases, Robson isn’t the only major street with a disappearing retail lanscape. 4th Avenue between Fir Street and Alma street has over 30 empty storefronts. West Broadway between Fir Street
    and Alma has over 40 empty storefronts. West 10th Avenue ( between Discovery Street and Tolmie) has 18 empty storefronts..and West 41st in Kerrisdale between Larch and Maple has over 20 vancies as well. This is Vancouver’s West Side. Since the beginning of 2012, there has been a significant drop in real estate sales as well in my neighborhood on the Westside. There must be a bigger storm brewing, a drop in the demand for residential and commercial real estate, as well as an exodus of investment in the City of Vancouver. That’s the writing on the wall.”

  17. Hmm. the big stores that went out of business were blockbuster and hmv. Those 2 stores are closing all over the world. Plus victorias secret is taking over hmv and nordstroms is moving into the sears building nearby. More american retailers is a good thing as far as im concerned. It will lower prices for everyone.

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