The rents are too damn high!

With the closing of Coffee Culture, I’ve seen a few “th weeny downtown is too high” reactions. 

But, before you blame the rents, be aware: Rents in Four Corners fall in the range of $10 to $23 per annum per square foot. This is exclusive of TMI, which is generally in the same range of Basic Rent in that area, for a total rent of $20 – $46 per sq ft in Gross Rental expenses. Twenty is closer to the norm within that range. Now, let’s compare that to rent paid in the Bramalea City Centre. 

In 2014, I reviewed a draft Lease for the City Centre: the Basic Rent was $45 per annum per square foot, plus additional rent, taxes, operating costs and mall advertising fund in the amount of $50 per sq ft per annum, for a total (in 2014) of $95 a sq ft. in  Gross Rental Expenses. This is anywhere from 2.3 to 5 times more than rent in Four Corners. How can that even be true? 

In BCC, the average sales per square foot were in the $500 to $600 per sq ft range. So rent is about 1/5 of sales for a successful business. Not a bad ratio actually. Obviously, the lower your expenses the better, but it’s about value, not nominal cost. 

What can we conclude? Four Corners does not have a rent problem. It has a revenue problem. No one shops there. And if you have no customers, rent could be free, you are still going out of business.

As we discuss what value a University might bring to Brampton, and various places within Brampton, we have to be very wary about thinking of the University as some kind of magic bullet to solve the retail woes of Four Corners merchants. The fact is, Four Corners is, or in the last five years has been, home to about a dozen schools of various descriptions: a high school, dance schools, music schools, martial arts schools, parks and Rec classes and programs, multiple career colleges, and of course I would never forget Algoma UNIVERSITY! 

Now before you try to lecture me that a University is different, because magically, for “Reasons”, and somehow but we aren’t sure how exactly, University students are just made of disposable income and spend recklessly and endlessly, let me Remind you: students are students whether they go to high school, college, career training or just music lessons. University students are not (and you can google this if you don’t believe me) magazine endless ATM’s that eat pollution and fart money at local vendors. They are just people, usually broke people at that. 

Will a University benefit Brampton? Absolutely!! Will a University have to be in Four Corners to benefit Brampton? Not at all. 

Will a University in Four Corners instantly turn every retailer there into Overnight Millionaires and make Four Corners a happening go to place for wine-ing, dine-ing and dancing the night away? 

Sure.

Just as much as every other school in Four Corners has. 

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