LiveWorkLearnPlay‘s unique approach to mixed-use development has secured the first seven retailers that will locate at Toronto’s Canary District following its use as the CIBC Athletes Village at the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Games.
“We’re responsible for the whole ground floor envisioning, planning, programming and activation strategy, and we partnered with Dundee Kilmer to be responsible for the implementation for all of the hand-picking of the retailers for the program,” said LiveWorkLearnPlay partner and principal Rob Spanier. “We curated the whole plan and have been hand-selecting the best-in-class operators to be part of the project.”
There’s a “health and wellness” theme to the 10-year-old Montreal company’s work at Canary District, where Dark Horse Espresso Bar, Fuel Plus, OpusGlow Concept Spa, Pizza e Pazzi, Tabule Middle Eastern Cuisine, The Running Room and Think Fitness Studio will all be making their home along Cherry Street and Bayview Avenue.
“The total project is 46,000 square feet of retail, which will represent approximately 26 individual businesses,” said Spanier, who added future tenants will likely include an “outdoor sports and recreation” operator, a pub, a bistro and “small market operators with cheese, meat, bread, fruit and fish.”
“Targeted Leasing and Casting” process
LiveWorkLearnPlay utilizes a proprietary “Targeted Leasing and Casting” process first developed when employees were building resorts with Intrawest Corporation.
Spanier said it involves “the active targeting of all of the best-in-class operators to fit within the vision of a project and selecting those operators through a rigorous process of analysis research, relationship building and business planning to insure the success of the operator and the project.”
The real estate development and advisory firm will look at anywhere from five to 40 operators for one space and generally prefers to work with smaller, independent retailers.
“Because of our business model, we work as part of the development team and our specialty is those independents,” said Spanier. “We don’t need to be doing targeted leasing and casting for the bigger players because the brokers are bringing in those deals and opportunities.”
LiveWorkLearnPlay has chosen five core focus areas to specialize in: downtown and urban revitalization; mixed-use new urbanist communities; college towns and university districts; health care centres and medical districts; and resort towns and destinations.
It has worked on more than 75 communities, and examples of its past Canadian projects in each respective category include: the City of Mississauga; Big Bay Point in Innisfil, Ont.; Montreal’s McGill University; Montreal’s Health Group Physimed; and Blue Mountain in Collingwood, Ont.
“Our roots stemmed from resort development for Intrawest and we’ve been very fortunate to be helping lead the charge in creating great cities and towns and projects throughout North America, Europe and the Caribbean for over a decade now,” said Spanier. “As long as it’s a large-scale, mixed-use development that creates a great place, we’re interested in it.”
LiveWorkLearnPlay has current roles as:
* master developer of a 5.25-acre mixed-use development project at the former Coliseum site in New Haven, Conn.;
* master developer of an 18-acre mixed-use project in the Broad Street district of Manchester, Conn.;
* master developer of the entire town of Burns Harbor, Ind. on Lake Michigan, 45 minutes from downtown Chicago;
* partner and developer of a women’s wellness medical clinic in downtown Montreal;
* development adviser conceiving and developing a new lakefront residential community with more than 1,200 units in Midland, Ont.;
* development adviser to the City of Vaughan on the development of the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre in Vaughan, Ont.;
* and development adviser creating a mixed-use health and wellness district for Baptist Health Care Hospital in Pensacola, Fla.