This might be the coolest space for lease in Toronto

This might be the coolest space for lease in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / MAY 19, 2016

ashbridges bay fire hall

There’s plenty of historical buildings to lease in Toronto at any given time, but every once in a while a true gem hits the market. Such is the case with this old fire hall in the Port Lands at 39 Commissioners St. Built by architect J. J. Woolnough in 1920s, its designation was Fire Station 30, but was also referred to as the Ashbridges Bay Fire Hall.

fire station 30 toronto

The building was used by Toronto Fire Services until 1980, though only in an administrative capacity in its later years. That means its oversized bay door has been bricked in, but you can still clearly see its outline. In fact, the structure has been maintained quite well given its age.

fire station 30 toronto

The real estate listing suggests that the building would be well-suited as a funky office space, brewery, or restaurant. It’d probably be a risky proposition as the latter, but there’s certainly an allure to the other ideas, most notably the brewery. Fire Hall 30 would be a good name for a beer, and a tap room with a fire pole would have plenty of cachet.

The Port Lands is an area that’s set to see a ton of change over the next decade, and this historic building might be an intriguing way for an enterprising business owner to make a mark before the area explodes.

Historical photos via the Toronto Archives.

GTA REALTORS® Release Monthly Commercial Market Figures

TORONTO, March 3, 2016 — Toronto Real Estate Board President Mark McLean announced that Toronto Real Estate Board Commercial Network Members reported 392,132 square feet of combined industrial, commercial/retail and office space in February 2016.  This result was down from 796,437 square feet of space leased during the same period in 2015.

Industrial properties accounted for more than three-quarters of the total space leased in February.  The commercial/retail segment accounted for the next largest share followed by the office segment.

Average lease rates for properties transacted on a per square foot net basis, where pricing was disclosed, were up for all three major market segments on a year-over-year basis.  Much of the increases in average lease rates were due to a change in the mix of properties leased, including differences in the size and location of transactions this year compared to last.

“While the regional economy for the GTA and surrounding Greater Golden Horseshoe has held up quite well relative to other regions in Canada, it is clear that there remains a degree of uncertainty in many sectors regarding the outlook for the next year.  This uncertainty seems to have translated into caution when it comes to firms committing to more industrial, commercial/retail or office space,” said Mr. McLean.

There were 55 combined industrial, commercial/retail and office sales reported in February 2016, where pricing was disclosed.  This result was up compared to 44 sales reported for February 2015.

Changes in average sale prices on a per square foot net basis varied by market segment and, similar to the leasing market, reflected changes in the type and geography of properties sold along with changes in market conditions.

A Rexall pharmacy is replacing the Brunswick House

A Rexall pharmacy is replacing the Brunswick House

Brunny is shutting down on March 31 and a drug store will be replacing this beloved (yet much-maligned) Toronto watering hole. Times they are a changin’ indeed.

Yes, a Rexall will be moving into the Ye Olde Brunswick House space, and since the location at 481 Bloor St., is under heritage designation, the pharmacy will be restoring and paying homage to the 139-year-old building. When it opens, likely some time in 2017, it’ll be Rexall’s flagship store.

This won’t be the first heritage building to become a drug store. In 2015, the old Runnymede Theatre – at Bloor and Runnymede – became a massive, and rather beautiful, Shoppers Drug Mart.

When the Brunswick House first announced it was closing, it looked like a Boston Pizza would be moving into the neighbourhood.


Almost 6.1 Million Square Feet of Leased Space in Q4 2015

January 6, 2016 — Toronto Real Estate Board President Mark McLean announced that TREB Commercial Network Members leased almost 6.1 million square feet of combined industrial, commercial/retail and office space in the fourth quarter of 2015. This result represented a 19.6 per cent year-over-year increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2014. More than three-quarters of all leased space was accounted for by the industrial market segment, followed by 12 per cent for the office segment and 10 per cent for the commercial/retail segment.

Year-over-year changes in average lease rates, for properties leased on a per square foot net basis with pricing disclosed, were mixed in Q4 2015. The average industrial lease rate was $6.09 per square foot net – up substantially compared to $5.22 in Q4 2014. While increased demand likely played a role, the key reason for the strong year-over-year growth in the average industrial lease rate was a number of deals completed for large spaces signed at above-average lease rates. The average commercial/retail lease rate was down compared to Q4 2014. The average office lease rate was up compared to the same period last year.

“It was a tumultuous time in Canada, from an economic perspective, in 2015. Nationally, we entered into and then climbed back out of a modest recession. The volatility in economic growth obviously had its foundation in declining oil prices, which hit the economies of western provinces particularly hard. However, in other parts of the country, like Ontario and particularly the GTA, economic conditions were not so severe. The unemployment rate trended lower for much of 2015, suggesting that many firms in the GTA were taking on employees. This suggests that some companies may be anticipating stronger growth ahead, perhaps as a result of the lower valued Canadian dollar vis-à-vis the US,” said Mr. McLean.

“Looking forward, it is quite possible that we could see an uptick in commercial leasing and sale activity in 2016, as the economy in the GTA and Ontario more broadly outperforms many other Canadian provinces. With this said, it is important to point out that after a good GDP growth result for the third quarter of 2015, a poor October result suggests that the rate of economic growth may have moderated in the fourth quarter. The continuation of economic volatility could slow some firms’ real estate investment decisions,” continued Mr. McLean.

Total industrial, commercial/retail and office property sales amounted to 235 in Q4 2015 – down by approximately 27 per cent compared to 322 sales in Q4 2014. The number of sales were down for all three market segments.

Year-over-year changes in average sale prices, on a per square foot basis for transactions with pricing disclosed, were mixed. The average industrial selling price, at $87.37 per square foot, was down by approximately 15 per cent compared to Q4 2014. The average commercial/retail selling price was down substantially, but this was largely due to a greater share of larger properties sold in the last three months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. Larger properties tend to sell for less on a per square foot basis. The average office price was down by 7.1 per cent year over year.


February 2016: Per Square Foot Net Commercial Leasing Summary
Lease Transactions Completed on a Per Square Foot Net Basis with Pricing Disclosed on TorontoMLS
Leased Square Feet Average Lease Rate
Feb. 2016 Feb. 2015 % Change Feb. 2016 Feb. 2015 % Change
Industrial 304,100 635,210 -52.1% Industrial $6.11 $5.47 11.7%
Commercial 56,716 107,045 -47.0% Commercial $19.82 $17.44 13.7%
Office 31,316 54,182 -42.2% Office $14.66 $10.82 35.6%
Total 392,132 796,437 -50.8%
February 2016: Commercial Sales Completed with Pricing Disclosed on TorontoMLS
Sales (Price Disclosed) Avg. Sale Price Per Sq. Ft. (Pricing Disclosed)
Feb. 2016 Feb. 2015 % Change Feb. 2016 Feb. 2015 % Change
Industrial 17 16 6.3% Industrial $104.85 $150.18 -30.2%
Commercial 22 21 4.8% Commercial $355.20 $352.12 0.9%
Office 16 7 128.6% Office $351.26 $243.81 44.1%
Total 55 44 25.0%
Source: TREB


The Commercial Realty Watch is now published on a quarterly basis. The next quarterly edition will be released at the beginning of April 2016, covering the first quarter of 2016. The TREB Commercial Division will continue to issue a monthly press release containing summary statistics for commercial lease and sales transactions through the TorontoMLS® system.


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