News today out of Toronto that David Mirvish has completed negotiations to sell the large property at Bathurst and Bloor that includes comic book stores The Beguiling and it’s satellite store for children’s comics Little Island Comics.
Discussed in an earlier article on this site, Markham Street as long had historical ties to comics, as it was the home to Canada’s first comic shop, Memory Land, and to the first comic art festival in 1968 (with guest Stan Lee). It was also home to some to the 2nd Toronto Comic Arts Festival in an adjacent parking lot in 2005.
It had been confirmed that the property has been sold to BC based developers WESTBANK PROPERTIES, the deal will be completely finalized by the end of the year. Westbank is responsible for the Shangri-La Hotels in Toronto and Vancouver, as well as other buildings on the west coast is very design intensive, which is something Mirvisch is very much in favour of doing with his own projects downtown on King Street, which will be partially funded by the sale of this land. They are known for building luxury condos and hotels.
Westbank is the winner in a race that had an unknown number of horses. Sources have independently told me that the Weston Group (Loblaws) was very interested in the land, and American retailers Wal-Mart and Target had also expressed interest. Originally assessed at a price of 100-million dollars, chances are the final deal is for a sum larger than that amount.
Since Westbank has no concrete plans as of yet for the 1.8 hectares of land that runs more than a block West of Bathurst and Bloor and a block South of it — and if they did the designs would have to go through the long process of permits and approvals — so they are renting the land back to David Mirvish for at least 2 to possibly 3 years. Plus the city of Toronto voted to hold off on approving anything until 2014, so they’ll have time to start surveying and consulting and readying for the inevitable discussions with Toronto’s City Council.
This of course gives the current Mirvisch Village tenants some more time to make some more long-term plans. Since Mirvisch is renting the land from the new owners, it could be assumed that he will continue to charge the lower, subsidized rent that MV tenants have been paying for decades, but that’s not a definite. Also not definite is the fate of his father’s retail store, which will probably run down business before the rental term is completed.