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Whyte Ave/Old Strathcona Retail Discussion

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  • Scona Cycle on 95 street and Whyte (Mill Creek bridge) is gonzo. The interior is bare when I passed by today. There is a For Lease sign on the side of the building.

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    • Wow... that’s a bit shocking. I can’t remember a time that they weren’t there.
      They're going to park their car over there. You're going to park your car over here. Get it?

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      • Yeah, Top_Dawg is quite astonished to see them gone.

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        • Their website is still going, and I saw an ad come up for some sales event lasting until Feb. 29th.

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          • They're not defunct, just moved to Acheson/Spruce Grove.

            Giving less of a damn than ever… Can't laugh at the ignorant if you ignore them!

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            • ^ Okay thanks. Honda Cycle is not dead but it still leaves a hole in that spot on Whyte.

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              • If they're no longer on Whyte, they need to update the address on their website.

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                • Rush Bowls is gone. That place didn’t last long at all.
                  They're going to park their car over there. You're going to park your car over here. Get it?

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                  • yeah, that was really fast for Rush Bowl. I always wonder what goes down when places fly out of their spots so quickly. I assume it's usually "they borrow a lot of money, realize right away they have no chance of paying it back soon, and GONE".

                    The old David's Tea (or whatever that was) by Dadeo's is STILL empty, and has been for about a year. Lilo's has finally closed up entirely, with only their old signage still up- the windows are covered and everything.

                    The escape room by the Funky Buddha and the Block 1912 has a sign up saying they're temporarily closed and reopening soon. I always forget that thing is there- it's a REALLY hidden location, especially compared to the other one on Whyte. Is that craze still going?

                    The fancy "small batch" ice cream shop is still there, and seems to be doing okay. The old "30+ people lined up" thing has died down completely, as it's a walk-up every time I've gone in since at least the fall, so the fad had faded. There's usually still people there, and the place is actually open very late for an ice cream joint (at least 9-10 or so). Hopefully it sticks around. I'm curious as to how many of these "hidden alley shops" there will be, and how they'll do- many of them have hours that aren't really good for me, but if cheaper rents can lead to a more "indie" Whyte, that's a good thing- the predatory practices of landlords in the area has just killed the Ave.

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                    • Well NEVER MIND about InTrap, the other escape room. Just walked by, and they have a note taped to their door indicating that the space has been seized by the landlords, as the place owes over $42,000 in back rent (what is that, three months on Whyte?) and the locks have been changed. I suppose they're done. Not that they'd have much of a chance with the fancier one just down the Ave, in a better location.

                      Meanwhile, Fat Frank's has been demolished! Anyone else see that? I think it's a pretty good location for the bar crowds, so they'll probably just rebuild it or something, unless even that's too expensive for them. It could probably do better as a food truck in this day and age, I suppose.

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                      • Well, the Fat Franks company was sold recently, and the article I read talked about a shift in the company approach. It made it sound like we won’t see the carts everywhere now, which is a shame because that’s kinda what Fat Franks was! I’m guessing the Whyte shack being gone is part of that shift in direction.
                        They're going to park their car over there. You're going to park your car over here. Get it?

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                        • That is too bad. I hope another vendor will fill that shack as I think it was a good location.
                          LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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                          • OOF- the first round of "places killed by Covid" are up already: https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/we-are-p...d-19-1.4934806

                            Doan's Vietnamese Restaurant (across from the Save-On Foods), one of the longest-serving restaurants here, shuttered owing to the virus.

                            Army & Navy, possibly the longest-serving thing here, has closed all across Western Canada. This place was probably a godsend for a ton of starving students, though I hadn't gone there in ages.

                            The Funky Buddha has permanently closed as well. I didn't realize this one until just recently, as I walked by and saw the same "You owe us $23,000+ in rent!" notices in the window. The news confirms it.

                            I wasn't commonly going to any of those places, but three major, MAJOR fixtures of the area dying, all "smaller business", is not a good sign. That one of the two busiest bars in the neighborhood couldn't save money for two months is pretty telling- what the hell were they saving?

                            Also a bit crazy that the rent on the Buddha is apparently $11,500+ a month. Indicating that once again, Edmonton's disgustingly high rents are the #1 thing at fault for people struggling all over.

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                            • Originally posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post

                              I am not 100% sure, but I would bet the farm that lease rates are still high because Whyte Ave is still considered a highly desirable retail strip. Over the years several businesses have left Whyte Ave for 124 St due to better lease rates (the latest being the Scottish Imports shop). And I am guessing that some building owners are hoping to lease out to brand-name chains (the usual Gap clones).
                              Any popular 'main street' corridor typically has higher lease rates. The issue is often landlords more than tenants. I say that as one who's company owns several properties in and around Whyte Avenue. The majority of the tenants that are attracted to Whyte are smaller "ma and pa's" that often have a great product or offering but limited capital or knowledge in what's needed to fit out space. You need to be prepared to work with them to create a platform for their success. This can be done in many ways mainly by providing a decent tenant improvement allowance, free rent periods or working with them through their design, permit approvals, etc.

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                              • Walking around the area lately, trying to find stuff that's open and finding out who survived the lockdown. Looks like a BUNCH of other places have gone, too.

                                * Doan's and Army & Navy we already know.

                                * The Second Cup attached to the Varscona! This one surprised me, but the coffee shops appear to all either be dead or dying. There was a "For Lease" sign in one window.

                                * Not sure if it's closed, but the only Starbucks on Whyte now has the windows papered up. Given they closed all the nearby ones, that's shocking, but I think some stuff is DEFINITELY going on with that company.

                                * The King & I, which has been there for YEARS. It's such a quirky location- off to the side of the strip but still visible. Now has "For Lease" signs everywhere.

                                * Merit Travel is completely empty- I was wondering about that one. Hard way to make a living, now. I didn't realize they have a break room in the upper floor, with a stairwell leading to it! I know Choklat did while it was open- it must be a feature of this building.

                                * Hanaichi, an Asian noodle place. Missed rent payments and is now done.

                                * Han Dynasty Hot Pot looks to be done- I saw them loading up several communal heater-holding shelves onto a truck today. Not quite sure if it's gone, but it seems likely.

                                Overall, it's really sad and depressing. The Ave will look a LOT different when this is all over, and I wonder if retail shopping will be done for good in the area. The lockdown was either too extreme, or the government not as capable of helping businesses survive. At the very least there should have been a rent freeze- charging rent in buildings nobody could use is downright criminal.

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