Profitable funkiness in Toronto

The conventional wisdom doubts that space for really funky stores could ever be financed. Well, one interesting experiment in doing so appears to be under way in Toronto, where the the developers of the Distillery District, a brownfield complex near downtown, have filled their buildings with cool local artisans. Sure, many cities have Artspace projects for subsidized studios downtown, but the Distillery District “is an initiative of private entrepreneurs on privately owned land with no public support.” Seems to get good reviews, too.

The same model appears to work for the Urbanspace Property Group in the office market, as well — notably the Centre for Social Innovation shared space for small nonprofits, but also in their pioneering rehab of 401 Richmond and its activation of the King-Spadina area.

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