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Honest Ed's For Sale in Oddly Non-Garish, Quiet Fashion

acheron

TRIBE Member
Iconic Honest Ed’s store

Honest Ed’s, the Toronto landmark known as much for its cheesy outdoor signage as its low prices, is up for sale.

Sources confirmed to the National Post that the famous Bloor Street store has been put on the block, along with some surrounding land also owned by the Mirvish family, and several real estate companies have been invited to make an offer in a transaction that could be worth about $100-million.

“It never really [publicly] hit the market,” said one real-estate source with knowledge of the offer, which appears to have been kept deliberately quiet. Colliers International is said to represent the listing.

The store — impossible to miss with its high-wattage outdoor marquee and schmaltzy posters like “Honest Ed attracts squirrels! At these prices they think he’s nuts!” — was first opened in 1948 by Ed Mirvish. His seed capital of $212 came from cashing in his wife’s insurance policy.

“He opened his store on a Saturday, and watched a torrent of customers pour in — the store was mobbed. It was the opening day of Honest Ed’s,” notes the retailer’s website.

From the store, the Mirvishes expanded and diversified their empire and today operate the most prominent company in the Canadian live-theatre business, Mirvish Productions.

The Honest Ed’s store has 160,000 square feet, but the total development being sold is said to encompass about 350,000 square feet, according to sources. The area around the store is known as Mirvish Village and features more upscale boutiques, book stores, art galleries and restaurants that are more in tune with the surrounding upscale Annex neighbourhood.

Mr. Mirvish’s son David, who now owns the properties, told the National Post on Monday that nothing has been sold. He would not comment about his holdings in the area or how the various properties have been assembled.

“We are about to celebrate our 65th anniversary and I’ll talk about that,” said Mr. Mirvish, who worked alongside his father running the family business, until Ed Mirvish died in 2007.

“I’m planning it for 2014 and for 2015, if you would like to talk about that.”

Mr. Mirvish said there have always been rumours about the property and the land — a prime location on the subway line — being for sale.

“Everything is on the market with me … you never know what will happen in the future,” said Mr. Mirvish. “For the moment, we are planning our anniversary.”

The sale of the land and property would come as Mr. Mirvish forges ahead with plans for a massive condo project further south in Toronto, on King Street West.

In October 2012, Mr. Mirvish and acclaimed Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry unveiled plans for what has been referred to as “three iconic towers” in the theatre district.

The condo towers are to be 80 storeys high and the project includes an art gallery, retail space and studios for the Ontario College of Art and Design University.

The plan is in the municipal-approval process.

Toronto condo developer Brad Lamb said any buyer planning to purchase the Honest Ed’s site for a multi-family residential project couldn’t expect to be allowed anything like the density that is planned for the King Street project.

“They’ve opened the flood gates on King Street,” said Mr. Lamb.

“What will happen [in The Annex] is someone like RioCan [a retail landlord] will probably partner with an office developer or condo developer, and we’re talking about a 10- to-12-storey development.”

Mr. Lamb said he hadn’t heard anything about the sale of the Mirvish property but said he would welcome any change to the area.

“It would be great,” said Mr. Lamb, about the Honest Ed’s site. “That thing is an eyesore.”
 

Bernnie Federko

TRIBE Member
If they were able to get around the heritage issues on King, they should have no issue with their Bathurst property. Maybe they will partner with Walmart or Marshalls or Target on the ground floor...
 
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rawd

TRIBE Member
I hope they build the biggest Walmart the world has ever seen. So tall it's capable of blocking out the sun with a giant Ronald McDonald sitting on top of it, cupping the sun in his hand.
 

kuba

TRIBE Member
This article reinforces my basic belief that Brad Lamb is a poopstain of a person.
I am NOT a fan of Brad Lamb except to say that Honest Eds is a place I haven't visited IN for a long time, and I am not going to cry to see it go. of course a 50-storey mega tower is not appropriate for the 'hood but anything is better than the piece of shit there.
 
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MoFo

TRIBE Member
Do what CB2 did. Mixed retail and condo/lofts. There's already a rec center so... Yeah, more housing is cool. Even a hotel/condo would be neat. Just do something with the sign, have a dedication to the past inside somewhere and create a garden space. This city is missing greenery.
 

erika

TRIBE Member
I can't believe you all want it gone! It's fun and garish and unique and I always show it to people coming to Toronto.

Do you think I'm going to show them another condo? I don't think so (perhaps one designed by Gehry on King, but that's about it).
 

MoFo

TRIBE Member
Legoland exists but you can't take adults.

And though I've had fond memories, it's not like that thing does anything but hock cheap crap. Keep a little store in there for fun and for its future branding but I'm not opposed to change in Toronto. You can really do something amazing with that building. It's a deadzone for commerce and culture. I would love to see it become something that's mixed retail, housing and usable space. Maybe even a restaurant.
 
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Dirty Girl

TRIBE Member
I go to honest eds all the time. Theres always people in there. I only find what i want 50 percent of the time
 

sk8

TRIBE Member
I'm with Erika - I've always thought it was cool in it's own way.

I bought a bunch of stuff to go to university with there. And like the sign said, I really did used to go in and get lost.

That corner will be weird without it. They really do have to keep the sign and put it somewhere though.
 

MoFo

TRIBE Member
I'd be okay if it was mixed housing and it was lower than 5 stories. Of course, that won't happen. It would be great if it was a gallery or museum with a restaurant and retail spaces.
 
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