Flagship Apple Store in Toronto in Jeopardy Due to Legal Battle

Over a decade has passed since rumors first surfaced about Apple's interest in opening a flagship retail store at one of Canada's busiest intersections, but the plans might be abandoned due to a legal battle between Apple and a real estate developer.

toronto the one apple store render
The Globe and Mail this week reported that Apple has sued Mizrahi Developments to terminate its lease at the developer's long-planned condominium tower at the southwest corner of Yonge Street and Bloor Street in Toronto. Apple was widely rumored to be planning a large street-facing store at the ground level of the 85-story skyscraper, called "The One," which is set to become Canada's tallest building when construction is completed.

"Apple regrets that Mizrahi's failures have resulted in Apple having to take the step of ending its relationship with Mizrahi," said Apple in a January 28 filing with Ontario's Superior Court of Justice, according to the report. Apple added that it had been "looking forward to opening this new store for its customers," the report said.

Specifically, Apple accused Mizrahi Developments of missing crucial deadlines, allowing it to exercise its option to terminate its lease agreement with the developer, according to the report. Mizrahi Developments attributed the delays to issues such as a plumber strike and the COVID-19 pandemic, but Apple disagreed with these claims.

The original lease agreement between Apple and Mizrahi Developments is dated March 23, 2016, and the deadline for Apple to take occupancy was amended twice from November 30, 2019 to October 31, 2021, according to the court filings.

All four of Apple's existing retail stores in Toronto are located in shopping malls, including the Eaton Centre, Sherway Gardens, Yorkdale, and Fairview Mall.

(Thanks, Bob Allan!)

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Top Rated Comments

fuchsdh Avatar
30 months ago
If you've missed not one but two deadlines, I don't think there should be any expectation your tenant is going to stick around.

Part of managing things is knowing that stuff outside of your control is going to impact the project and plan accordingly. If Covid is an "act of god" you couldn't plan for, it seems weird that you don't have to honor your contract but everyone around you does.

Also, the builders did the usual thing of razing the existing buildings before the city could consider designating the property historic. So I'm always happy with these kinds of people getting the short end of the stick.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ipedro Avatar
30 months ago

Right, the only way that could explain it is if the developer and Apple’s team both completely ignored practical reality. To put the proposal into perspective, if accomplished, this would be a world first as I’ve never heard of an Apple store, or any store for that matter, opening while a giant skyscraper was still under construction right above.

On second thought maybe there were going for that wow factor? This would have certainly been the greatest feat in retail development history if they pulled it off. If a thousand foot tall building suspended over an Apple store wouldn’t have been enough for every award out there.
The plan was always to move retail in before completion of the tower. If you visit the site, you can see that the building envelope is complete for the levels pertaining to Apple's space, construction staging has moved to the back of the building and the remaining parts of the common areas are speeding towards completion long before Apple would outfit their store for opening. In 6 months to a year when Apple would realistically have their store finished (which they build, not the developer), the tower will be twenty or more stories above with no effect on Bloor and Yonge where the Apple Store would operate.

Apple is 100% posturing here for concessions. They want this location and always have. They're not going to find a better location in this prime neighbourhood.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PierrPB Avatar
30 months ago

It doesn’t make sense for Apple to do this as “Posturing” or to “save money.” They’ll be getting a good deal anyway, as mentioned above as a premium retailer to draw people to the property…. And at Apple’s margins, the cost of the store is a rounding error to profitability. If they want out, they want out for their own reasons. Maybe another property is available nearby?
157 Bloor... The former Club Monaco location is up for grabs. Right on transit (Museum Station), beautiful Royal Ontario Museum views and a nice setback from the street. I could see apple all over this, very much to the effect of the Champs-Élysées store.



Did some digging and found some sort of record between UofT and Apple back in 2018 possibly having negotiations? Or am I just being hopeful?



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Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
now i see it Avatar
30 months ago
“Flagship” is an overused and now meaningless term
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Marshall73 Avatar
30 months ago

If the original opening date was November 2019 then it seemed like a joke? There’s no way you could finish building a supertall skyscraper in 3 years. Speaking as a Torontoian, the physical site of the building is so small there would literally be no room for any construction work if the store opened, so there was no way they could have opened it before everything was fully complete. Surprised the folks at Apple didn’t walk around the site and put 2+2 together?
Took 3 years to build the shard in London (a building of similar height). General practice is to construct the building, have a number of floors completed to allow some clients to move in then finish the remaining floors. That way you can start taking money before the building is completely fitted out. So, you would WANT to have a client like Apple to have a big shiny store to attract other businesses etc.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fuchsdh Avatar
30 months ago

“Flagship” is an overused and now meaningless term
I'd argue Apple Stores are one of the few cases where flagship/anchor tenant actually is still applicable, actually. The research tends to bear this out, e.g. https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/does-apple-anchor-a-shopping-mall-the-effect-of-the-technology-stores-on-the-formation-of-market-structure And in terms of "flagship" in just the sense of "this is our fanciest store in the location", that's still very much a thing. It's why the 5th Ave. store in NYC is always mobbed, why people travel from across the country to go to the Macy's etc.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)