Boston Pizza is opening a location in a long-empty Glebe building, according to a provincial liquor licence application.
The pizza chain filed a liquor license request for 640 Bank St., between Powell and Clemow avenues. The property, which features a large amount of onsite parking, has sat vacant since the LCBO moved to Lansdowne Park.
Glebe BIA executive director Andrew Peck was also unable to confirm Boston Pizza’s tenancy, as he hasn’t received any update from brokers or the business itself. A Boston Pizza spokesperson has yet to confirm the move to OBJ.
Though Mr. Peck says vacancies will always be a factor, he says that reducing the number of empty storefronts in the Glebe is a “strategic priority” for the BIA, which has recently conducted consumer research to develop a business attraction package.
“The issue of vacancies is not unique to the Glebe. It’s something all commercial areas deal with. What I do know is, (the research) shows we are top of mind in the city,” he says.
Mr. Peck says that rent costs are not as prohibitive as prospective buyers may think they are, and that he has heard from brokers and leasing agents in the area that there’s been a lot of interest in Glebe properties.
“There’s not a doom-and-gloom attitude, it’s actually quite promising.”
Boston Pizza isn’t the only chain purportedly coming online in the area. According to a real estate posting, McDonald's and Pizza Hut are moving to the site of the burnt-out building at Bank Street and Fifth Avenue.
Mr. Peck says that the presence of retail and restaurant chains in the Glebe is “part of the landscape,” and that all commercial areas have need for both chains and independent businesses.
“What we need to preserve is to have a mix: Different things, different brands, different products, different experiences, different services. I just look at it through that lens.”
In the past year, several businesses have opened in the Glebe. These include Filipino-inspired Tamis Cafe, Capital Barbershop and The Rowan, sister restaurant to The Fraser Cafe.
Mr. Peck says the influx of new storefronts, as well as the recent holiday closure exemption aimed at promoting tourism in the area, has reinvigorated the neighbourhood.
“This area has changed,” he says. “It’s hopping.”