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Market observations for web_oct27


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Market observations for web_oct27

  2. 2. Rooted in the people and their experiences of poverty and prosperity, Boulevard Saint-Laurent lives and changes along with the people it has seen come and go. It is often described by local residents and merchants today as a commercial street with a mixture of business types and sizes which offer a variety of products and services that go hand-in-hand with its cultural diversity. While it is no longer the bustling commercial neighbourhood of light industry and mom and pop shops that were once frequented by the surrounding immigrant families, the boulevard continues to offer a variety of products and services – some of which you wouldn’t expect! The following pages provide an overview of the market in terms of existing businesses, recruitment and expansion opportunities and suggested space utilization. CURRENT REAL ESTATE MARKET Largely developed from 1886 to the early 20th century, the part of Boulevard Saint- Laurent between Sherbrooke to Mont- Royal mainly consists of two to four story buildings with narrow street frontages of 25-feet. They are similar in age and
  3. 3. general massing with an overall street pattern that is a very regular orthogonal gridiron. Nevertheless, the architectural uniformity along the boulevard is just about the only common aspect along the street! There are also larger buildings, including converted garment factories, which are between 8 to 10 stories high. Commercial Property Cost Several buildings on Boulevard Saint- Laurent have undergone restorations and renovations in order to be used as it is today. Consequently, landlords have increased rent prices to recuperate these expenses. The average cost for a ground-floor retail unit is approximately $35 per square foot and the average cost for commercial office space is between $20-25 per square foot –
  4. 4. depending on tenant improvements and renovations. Diversity of Businesses When grouped into the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) , the boulevard boasts a collection of business within the following sectors: • Professional, Scientific, Technical Services (182 businesses, 34%) • Retail Trade - includes foods and beverage, goods (144 businesses, 27%) • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (69 businesses, 13%) • Accommodation and Food Services (68 businesses, 13%) • Other (13%) In general, the boulevard consists of what one would expect along a commercial street, but it is the unexpected mix of different businesses side-by-side that makes it stand out. This is both attractive as well as a challenge in terms of store- finding and setting a shopper’s expectations. In general, located on the ground-floor are new and established retail fashion
  5. 5. stores such as clothing boutiques and jewellers, convenience stores such as pharmacies and banks, stores selling food products like ethnic gourmet and general grocery stores, as well as food services such as restaurants and cafes. Boulevard Saint-Laurent is recognized for its well- priced foods – particularly for lunch-time – and its assortment of ethnic dishes. While the buildings may be regular, some tenants are anything but ordinary. Unique long-time businesses are visible on the ground-floor such as the funeral home, Alfred Dallaire and the prominent monument manufacturer, L. Berson & Sons. Smaller buildings between two to four storeys use the above floors residential and/or commercial office space. For the taller buildings above eight stories, the unit styles vary to attract traditional offices, creative businesses for the loft style commercial units and even small live-work style residential units. ! Vineberg Building/Berman Building: 4060 Boulevard Saint- Laurent residential loft
  6. 6. Market Challenges Problems and challenges in the area that affect the prosperity of businesses include: • Irregular day-time activity • Increasing rent prices and gentrification • Vacancies due to high rent • Limited parking • Lack of street furniture for visitors • Noise complaints from residents • Lack of street cleaning • Perception of low-quality products • Confusing business placement POTENTIAL TARGET MARKET Upon reviewing the current business offering, visitor profiles, demographics of the area as well as case studies of other commercial districts, it is recommended that the target visitor and business- offering on the Boulevard Saint-Laurent should be expanded to the following to fill commercial vacancies and increase day- time activity: Lifestyle of Target Visitor • Enjoys live-work-learn-play environment
  7. 7. • Flexible day with active evenings • Enjoys and benefits from interaction, busy environment • Spends disposable income on fashion, food and entertainment • Active within the community • Not car dependant Socio-Demographic Profile of Target Visitor • Affluent, young adult to middle-aged • Affluent baby boomers • Workers in the area • Mature students Culture of Target Business • Encourage home-work-play lifestyle • Benefit from interaction and open- concept design (for commercial lofts) • Attracts 24/7 coming and going of people and clients • Environmentally conscious practices • Encourages convenient shopping (for workers in the area) Product/Service Offering of Target Business • Art schools: cooking, music, fashion, dance, painting, sculpture, language • Co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and community groups (like Station C on 5359 Saint-Laurent) • Successful local businesses
  8. 8. • Neighbourhood amenities (e.g. Adonis Market) STRATEGIC BUSINESS PLACEMENT The businesses along Boulevard Saint- Laurent are all mixed together – there is no obvious clustering or placement of complementary businesses to create market synergies that are beneficial to shoppers and businesses alike. Compatible Uses & Placement Considerations For all business districts, it is important to consider how its different businesses and uses interact with one another and whether or not they are compatible. For example, residential and convenience retail are compatible and thus should be placed near each other to meet the needs of their common clients. Furthermore, in condo buildings that have a mixture of residential and commercial lofts, such as the Berman Building on 4060 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, the residential units should be situated further away from the busy street – whether it is at the top floors or at the rear of the building – in order to reduce disruptive noises. Office spaces should be located nearby bars, restaurants and cafes and accommodations to create strong supporting markets.
  9. 9. Anchor Stores & Traffic Generators Anchor stores are generally well-known and more prominently located – often at the ground-floor corners or ends of a pedestrian walkway – to attract people who are then encouraged to patronize the other surrounding shops. Currently, the anchor stores on the boulevard which attract activity are food-related businesses such as Schwartz, Moishes Steak House, la Vielle Europe, Restaurant de la Main and the new Juliette et Chocolat; and Pharmaprix. Unfortunately, these establishments are located in the middle of the commercial strip near the intersections of Saint-Cuthbert, Napoleon and Bagg with Boulevard Saint-Laurent. Consequently, exposure for less well- known businesses is less than ideal. In order to increase day-time activity, it is suggested that a focus be placed on attracting ground floor anchor tenants that are local merchants and entrepreneurs with proven business
  10. 10. models and wide-spread public appeal. They do not necessarily need to have a large store footprint but rather good advertising and brand recognition. Some recognizable businesses could include restaurants such as Chez Cora, Baton Rouge and Amir; retail stores like Archambault, Point Zero and Parasuco; as well as art stores like DeSerres which would be complementary to existing creative businesses and residents. Anchor stores and/or traffic generators (like bixi stations) should be situated along the intersections of Boulevard Saint- Laurent to force pedestrians to pass smaller businesses along the way and generate additional activity. Convenience-Based & Destination Stores The accessibility requirements of convenience-based stores are also a consideration. For short visits that require quick access such as convenience stores, grocery stores, dry-cleaners, pharmacies, and banking services, they should be
  11. 11. placed nearby public parking lots or have on-street short-term parking and bicycle racks in order to accommodate people just stopping by. Two public parking lots on the boulevard are located just south of Prince-Arthur. Conversely, there are stores that are destination-type businesses that do not benefit from a large amount of pedestrian traffic since they are purpose trips. This includes furniture stores such as those further up north on Boulevard Saint- Laurent. Consequently, these businesses – including professional services or creative businesses – do not require a high ground- floor visibility and some could even be located on upper floors. Business Clustering Considerations Currently along Saint-Laurent there are few obvious or advertised clusters. Observations show that businesses on both ends of the strip – at Sherbrooke and Mont-Royal – generally cater to a more
  12. 12. upscale clientele (e.g. Macaroni Bar, Med Grill and Buananotte). Furthermore, there are pockets of Portuguese-run businesses as well as high-end furniture and housing décor stores north of Duluth. As previously mentioned, the independent long-standing ethnic delicatessens and restaurants are located in the middle of the strip nearby Bagg, Napoleon and Saint-Cuthbert. The idea of clustering businesses is applied in some commercial and technological districts in order to take advantage of individual businesses that serve the same or overlapping segments of the market or those that address similar needs or preferences of consumers. With the appropriate business mix, a careful placement of product or service offerings can either be complementary or compatible in serving the needs of the prospective customer while also increasing spontaneous buying of complementary goods. For example, by forming comparison clusters in which similar goods that appeal to the same markets are alongside one another on given block, it helps these businesses advertise themselves better (i.e. the store is located within the
  13. 13. jewellery district between x and y streets) and define the expectations of the shopper better in terms of product, quality and even pricing. To complement this cluster, it can be located beside a block that has remained a mixture of stores in order to create that interesting diversity that is renowned of Boulevard Saint-Laurent while also organizing the street. A NEW ROLE FOR THE SDBSL Businesses and residents located along Boulevard Saint-Laurent have the benefit of belonging to a centralized organization with a management role – la Societe de developpement du boulevard Saint- Laurent (SDBSL). The SDBSL can help to organize a business placement committee or retail management group consisting of property owners, managers and real estate groups that collectively determine the most appropriate locations for prospective merchants who are approaching the group to setup along the boulevard – particularly on the ground floor. This will help gain a degree of control over the tenant mix and its placement Similarly, this group may coordinate leasing plans and efforts to fill vacancies
  14. 14. and actively attract certain tenants. A leasing plan could even involve allowing the SDBSL to have the right of first refusal for new tenants. In this case, the building owners could allow the SDBSL to market and promote the property for a certain period of time – which spares the building owner efforts of finding a tenant while also allowing the boulevard to fulfill a greater long-term vision of businesses and their location along the boulevard. Other related options may include business competitions to win a ground- floor retail unit free of rent or win free advertising – for a given period of time. In addition, the boulevard may consider allowing interested and potential new businesses to temporarily open up a stall during a street festival. These are initiatives that would require coordination by the SDBSL.