Can St. Thomas – specifically the downtown corridor – support another retail grocery store?
That will be the focus of a public meeting to be held 5:45 p.m. May 8 in the council chamber at city hall as Gyulveszi Holdings Inc., have applied to the city for permission to locate a grocery store at 780 Talbot Street, the home of Giant Tiger since 2000.
From 1954 to 1999, the site was occupied by a retail food store (A&P).
The Giant Tiger lease expires this year and several traditional food store operators have expressed an interest in the 23,176 square foot building that includes 115 parking spaces.
Gyulveszi Holdings has retained the Lakeshore Group of Toronto to undertake a retail market analysis.
Giant Tiger store with CASO station in the background at right
According to their website, the Lakeshore Group specializes “in providing land use planning, development approvals, zoning due diligence and retail location research services to both private and public sector clients.” Those clients include Metro stores and Sobeys.
In their report to city staff and council, the Lakeshore Group notes there are six traditional retail food stores operating in St. Thomas: Foodland and FreshCo – both located in the formal designated downtown area in the city’s official plan – and Real Canadian Superstore, Walmart, Briwood Farm Market and the Metro store in Elgin Mall.
The report advises, “The Giant Tiger store on the subject site, while not a traditional retail food store, does sell a significant amount of food store items. Amending the official plan and zoning bylaw to allow food sales on the subject site is justified given the size and location of the other food stores in the Talbot Street corridor.”
The Lakeshore Group report suggests “The re-establishment of a retail food store on the subject site would contribute to enhancing the vibrancy of St. Thomas’s downtown and a food store use in the downtown would be desirable from a commercial planning perspective.
“A small food store use of the size that could be accommodated on site,” the report continues, “by its nature, like the other existing supermarkets in the Talbot Street corridor, would cater to both pedestrians and customers who visit using the car.”
With zoning amendments to allow a retail food outlet, the Lakeshore Group suggests this presents an opportunity to enhance pedestrian access across the property to the CASO station, located behind Giant Tiger.
The market analysis concludes, “permitting the establishment of a food store in downtown areas is typically viewed as a positive municipal planning objective.”
Questions and comments may be emailed to: City Scope