The grocery store giant has announced it will open a new ‘urban format’ grocery store in the Toronto neighbourhood as part of a mix-use condo project at College Street and Spadina Avenue.
By ‘urban format,’ the company means a store much smaller than it’s usual size, which can be as large as 85,000 square feet. This location, nestled among the iconic Toronto community known for it’s versatile mom and pop shops, will be one quarter that size — at around 20,000 square feet.
A group known as the Friends of Kensington Market say that the presence of a large grocery store will do more harm than good for the neighbourhood and began opposing the proposed plans last winter.
'Special, it's unique'
Now this announcement comes as the area continues it’s war against a proposed Wal-Mart store — which have since stalled — saying that letting in such big business risks hurting the existing smaller shops within the area,
“Why do we need a Loblaws in Kensington Market?,” resident Stephanie Power said. “We have it everywhere else. Kensington Market is special, it's unique… people need to protect what they love. If not, what happens,everything ends up exactly the same.”
But retail analyst Alex Arifuzzaman thinks Loblaws moving in can be seen as a positive for the neighbourhood.
“The area of Kensington Market is evolving as all these new condominiums come in,” Arifuzzaman said. “The population is changing and evolving and Loblaws is coming in to meet the need.”
The store will be located in the second floor of the condo complex and is expected to open in 2016.