Greedy Landlord in Leslieville?
The recent news that Red Rocket Cafe (Queen East and Vancouver St) is closing their Leslieville shop after many years in business has irked local Coffee enthusiasts. The word on the street is that their Landlord is doubling their rent which would result in lower than expected profits for the Cafe Owners.
The question is; Is this an aggressive landlord or a business not willing to adapt to market demand along an increasingly popular stretch of Queen Street?
Fans of the business via Facebook posts, blog entries, and Twitter rants have used words like “Greedy”, “Inconsiderate”, “Savage”, “Unethical”, and having “No Regard for the Community” when describing the landlord while showing unwavering support for the Owners of Red Rocket Cafe.
Red Rocket Cafe opened up shop in Leslieville over 4 years ago named after the streetcar Yard across the street. They offer a wide variety of fair trade, organic drip, and espresso-based coffee drinks.
Prime Leslieville commercial rents have been steadily increasing year over year since 2000. Businesses should expect to pay between $27-35/sqft annually for average Queen St frontage and up to $50/sqft for prime corner retail spot similar to the Great Canadian Pie Company site. The Red Rocket’s location was a bit of a ‘no-mans land’ and has slowly been annexed in to the cool, hip area as many local events like the Leslieville Farmers Market and cool restaurants like Queen Margarita Pizza have stretched the boundaries of what was traditionally known as the trendy part of Leslieville. I would imagine the Red Rocket Cafe started paying $20-25/sqft per annum and that is now being set at a more realistic $40-50/sqft per annum. Again, these are just assumptions based on typical market costs.
It’s sad to see the Red Rocket Cafe close shop in Leslieville however we think the reaction shouldn’t be so one-sided. Let’s remember that the Owners are CHOOSING to move to another location (1364 Danforth Avenue.) not being forced out, they have a successful downtown location and they’ve simply made a business decision that the Danforth location would be more profitable. Just as the landlord made a business decision, the Cafe owners have made their own.
Property owners have a right to charge market prices to businesses. The fact that the landlord is holding their ground means they won’t have trouble leasing the property to another (hopefully exciting) business. Red Rocket like the landlord is motivated by profits and made the decision that their customers wouldn’t absorb the increased rents in product prices. For those willing to travel Red Rocket has a 2nd location behind Jarvis Collegiate (East of Wellesley St. on Jarvis).