Cabbagetown: What's in a Starbucks??

starbucks1Later on today, between 4 and 7 PM there will be a fundraiser for the Cabbagetown Youth Centre to open the new Starbucks at the corner of Aberdeen Avenue and Parliament Street . The Youth Centre is a great cause that the Community has supported for years and needs some help to replace their existing roof and assist in their programs.

Today’s event in also in aid of the opening of the Starbucks. Let me preface this by telling you that for years, when media has interviewed me about where the next up-and-coming area might be found, it was easy for me to say,”Look where Starbucks is opening and you will have the latest hot spot!”

I would not refer to Cabbagetown as up-and-coming…but came. For years we have led the City in renovation and restoration of existing housing stock and sometimes thoughtful development of infill. We have a very strong Cabbagetown Preservation Association which has acted well in protecting our streetscapes east of Parliament Street. We also have a BIA which has tried its best to entice stronger commercial influence, not an easy feat when Dollar Stores are less costly to refurbish and open.

I have mixed feelings about Starbucks on Parliament Street. We are already overflowing with Coffee shops but the existence of a Starbucks may say a lot to potential Lessees hoping to venture onto the Parliament Street Strip. Let’s hope so.

Here’s my question:

Does a Starbucks on the Cabbagetown retail strip mean that Cabbagetown has finally “made it”? Does it increase the neighbourhood cachet??

I would love to see your thoughts in the comments below:

***However, a quick note about the new building that houses Starbucks: I would have assumed that the nice covered area at the rear of the building was for parking but in the last few weeks a massive double HVAC System has appeared in the location and it beyond me how parking for the units above can be accommodated. In walking around this morning, I also spoke to one of the neighbors who complained about the noise that these units are making…and that is before the building is occupied above the ground floor.***starbucksparkingstarbuckshvac

6 Responses

  1. Daniel Bloch

    Hey Richard, just reading your blog!

    My opinion on this starbucks even though parking is an issue, I do think it does not fit into the area as much as a Tim Hortons or other smaller coffee chain, the reason for this is the average Joe, on Parliament does not want to pay the extra for a simple coffee, of course if they ad a patio in the spring and summer it may change the outlook, however Im still a big fan of Jet Fuel Coffee Shop across the street where you can get a giant latte to go for as little as $2.00

    I think a company like Balzacs would of done terrific in Cabbagetown but the corporate giant always makes the first move!

  2. Rick

    I disagree with you Daniel.

    I think a Starbucks is a wonderful addition to the strip. And, like it or not, a Starbucks appearing on the strip does send out a message to entrepreneurs and/or established businesses that the strip is a viable place to open.

    There’s a place for all businesses on Parliament and the “corporate giants” bring traffic to the street which means the little guy might actually have a chance.

    Here’s hoping that the residents of Cabbagetown get out of their Land Rovers en route to Whole Foods and actually support their neighbourhood businesses.

  3. Richard Silver Post author

    Just a quick update…it seems that Stabucks is developing it’s own clientele and is pretty busy. Maybe residents of Cabbagetown needing a Starbucks fix are staying in the hood rather than going to other areas…We have some great places to shop so lets keep supporting our merchants! Hats off to the St. James Butcher Shop! They seem to be getting better and better…Your dad would be very proud of you Mark!!

  4. Rob

    I think having a Starbucks is great. I’d often go down to the Distillery District or St. Lawrence Market for a coffee, it’s great to be able to stroll down the street for one now.

    Starbucks has it’s own clientele that really weren’t served by Jet Fuel or Tim Horton’s, etc. It sure would be nice if it did signal some more upscale cafes and restaurants on Parliament. Cabbagetown is still not a place many people think of when they want to go out, which is too bad.

    1. Richard Silver Post author

      Thanks Rob…it is good to have Starbucks there and it is definitely attracting a different clientele…more zen than the music at Jet Fuel but…that shows my increasing age. Looks like the two store next to Jet Fuel are also being re-invented: one as an ice cream shop (YEAH!!) and one as a Jewellry Shop. All good for Cabbagetown. If you get a chance check out 300 Dundas and see the full plan for the regent Park re-vitalization..it is very cool.

  5. Tricia

    I absolutely think St James town and parliament street are changing for the better.. Even since I moved down here 3 years ago.
    I am happy that a starbucks has made it into the neighbourhood. I’m not a fan of the coffee at coffee time or Tim Hortons and felt limited in my choices. Starbucks not only services a specific clientele and not just zen yuppies but also those who enjoy quality coffee and specialty beverages.
    I’m happy and hope that it may lure new visitors to our wonderful neighbourhood!

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