Past meets future as Loblaw officially re-opens historic West Block building in downtown Toronto
Once home to the first Loblaw Groceterias Warehouse, today a hub of retail and innovation
Toronto, ON – September 11, 2020 (TSX: L): Today, Loblaw Companies Limited (“Loblaw”) announced the reopening of the historic West Block building. Built in 1928, this site formerly housed the first Loblaws Groceterias warehouse. Today, the new location brings retail, office and residential space to the Lakeshore and Bathurst area in Toronto, building a community in this urban setting.
“The reopening of the West Block building is an important milestone in Loblaw’s history, and a cornerstone of our future,” said Sarah Davis, President, Loblaw. “The building is an architectural representation of our company, and our role as an ongoing retail innovator. It brings together our century-long story, combining convenient bricks-and-mortar store locations and the new hub of our digital, loyalty and financial services teams.”
In 1928, the warehouse highlighted how Loblaws Groceteria was a pioneer in modern retailing. Today, it reaffirms Loblaw’s commitment to innovation and to the digital talent in Toronto. The office space is the new home of more than 1,100 digital economy workers, including teams from Loblaw Digital – recently voted one of the top Toronto tech employers — PC Optimum, and PC Financial, which focuses on digital-first everyday payments.
“When the building first opened in 1928 it was hailed as the most modern warehouse of its kind. Our task was to reconstruct a space that represents Loblaw’s exciting future and properly captures the essence of both its history, and that of the city,” said Galen G. Weston, Executive Chairman, Loblaw. “Brick by brick and stone by stone, West Block’s historic façade has been restored so it once again becomes a destination within the community.”
With a combined investment of more than $400 million, the site was redeveloped by Wittington Properties to provide City Place and Harbourfront residents with a destination to live, eat, shop and work. West Block boasts an elevated grocery experience in Loblaws, the convenience and luxury of Shoppers Drug Mart, and the latest in affordable fashion at Joe Fresh. Owned and managed by Choice Properties REIT, it also features five floors of office space, two residential condo towers, and a modern courtyard for community events.
“The reopening of the West Block is a tribute not only to our city’s history but to the role that Loblaw has played in that history. People will come to the Lakeshore and Bathurst area to not only experience the new building and the services it offers but to see a new iconic building in a growing and vibrant part of Toronto. I want to thank Loblaw for revitalizing this building and for bringing much needed services to our residents,” said Mayor John Tory.
Quick Facts about West Block:
- Loblaws location providing everything food lovers in the area need for meal inspiration or preparation, including fresh prepared meals from Pane Fresco – once a distinct bakery, now serving fresh pizzas, pastries and breads in the supermarket. The store comes with added convenience for the downtown resident, and trusted services including PC Express e-commerce.
- Shoppers Drug Mart will support the neighbourhood’s health-and-wellness needs with the in-person, digital and delivery services customers trust, along with an expanded selection of prestige beauty offerings.
- The Joe Fresh location will have a showroom look and feel, providing affordable, everyday fashion with digital conveniences such as smart mirrors in each change room.
- Two condo towers with approximately 850 residential units.
- Five floors of office space for approximately 1,100 colleagues.
- West Block was rebuilt brick by brick, with each stone replaced in the same original location. A number of historical artefacts remain in the building, including wood salvaged from the old Queen’s Wharf, and support columns from the Gardiner Expressway in the parking garage.
Media tours will be arranged upon request, following all COVID-19 safety protocols.
For more information, photos and/or video, please contact [email protected]
About Loblaw Companies Limited (TSX: L)
Loblaw Companies Limited is Canada's food and pharmacy leader and the nation's largest retailer. Loblaw provides Canadians with grocery, pharmacy, health and beauty, apparel, general merchandise, financial services, and wireless mobile products and services. With more than 2,400 corporate, franchised and Associate-owned locations, Loblaw, its franchisees, and Associate-owners employ approximately 200,000 full- and part-time employees, making it one of Canada's largest private sector employers.
Loblaw's purpose – Live Life Well® – puts first the needs and well-being of Canadians who make one billion transactions annually in the companies' stores. Loblaw is positioned to meet and exceed those needs in many ways: convenient locations; more than 1,050 grocery stores that span the value spectrum from discount to specialty; full-service pharmacies at nearly 1,400 Shoppers Drug Mart® and Pharmaprix® locations and close to 500 Loblaw locations; PC Financial® financial services; affordable Joe Fresh® fashion and family apparel; and three of Canada's top consumer brands in Life Brand®, no name® and President's Choice®.