The Vancouver-based Westbank Properties has been named as the buyer of iconic Honest Ed’s site at Bloor and Bathurst, according to CBC News. Earlier reports pegged the price tag of the Annex site at $100 million but owner David Mirvish refused to comment on the asking price.
The luxury developer is behind the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto and Kensington Gardens and 188 Keefer St. on the west coast. It recently caused a stir in Vancouver after City Council unanimously approved re-zoning for Beach + Howe, a 497-foot, 52-storey tower designed by Bjarke Ingels. Westbank launched Telus Sky over the summer, a 58-storey condo in downtown Calgary also designed by Bjarke Ingels’ firm BIG.
The CBC reported that the deal will close later this year and Westbank will rent the site and surrounding properties for up to three years, while the company decides what to do with the land. However, the flagship discount store will close later this year.
Mirvish also kept mum about Westbank‘s plans for the area.
“I believe that they’re people who are sensitive and interested in being an important part of the Toronto community and therefore will deal with this property in a very respectful way for the neighbourhood and the city,” he said.
Here’s a look at some of the early reactions to the news:
With little emotional attachment to the massive Honest Ed’s signage, hopefully new development will help to reshape the Annex neighborhood
— David George-Cosh (@itsdgc) October 28, 2013
Toronto sold Honest Ed’s to Vancouver luxury condo developers. The city now has no soul. I am ashamed to live here.
— Leo (@leomatarasso) October 28, 2013
— Nicole Van Stone (@NicoleVanStone) October 28, 2013
Yes, condos are likely coming, but what could we do with the Honest Ed’s site? http://t.co/PVCwz01oxT
— Metro Morning (@metromorning) October 28, 2013
@BuzzBuzzHome Personally, I’m glad to see the old building go. It gave me the creeps even when I was a child.
— Jenna Em (@SnyMed) October 28, 2013
The news also generated plenty of discussion on reddit with a user who goes by the moniker “chrisjayyyy” outlining the difficulties behind keeping the retailer as is: “This city has to be fluid, it can’t remain the same forever. Honest Ed’s as a business is slowly declining, and I think the only thing worse than no Ed’s would be to see it artificially kept alive like some sort of museum.”
Many commenters asked that the sign be incorporated into whatever replaces the discount department store.
We’ll be updating the story as more information becomes available.