Main Street One of Top 15 Coolest Streets in North America: Retail Survey

Joannah Connolly
June 30, 2016

The Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, focusing on Main Street in particular, has been named one of North America’s top 15 “cool streets” by a Cushman & Wakefield report.

The Cool Streets of North America report added that the Main and Broadway intersection is “ground zero” for the super-hip shopping and cultural district, which was one of only two in Canada highlighted by the North America-wide survey, the other being Toronto’s West Queen West.

Cool streets are defined as being “bohemian enclaves and focal points for local arts, music or the LGBT community”, says the report, but also characterized by “an explosion of unconventional new retail concepts.”

Leyda Molnar, who has managed Kingsgate Mall at Main and Broadway for 10 years, told REW.ca’s sister publication Western Investor that she has seen massive change in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. “We see a lot more young people because of all the new condos,” she said. She added that the aging mall is seeing revived interest, with a new local boutique fashion store, Lolli Pretty, just opened and Home Highlights, a start-up interior design accessory outlet, opening this month.

“If retailers live and die by cool, the same also holds true of shopping centres and entire neighbourhoods,” said Garrick Brown, vice-president of retail research at Cushman & Wakefield. “And in an age of frugality, e-commerce encroachment and vast gaps in shopping-centre performance, cool matters now more than ever.

“Independent retailers remain the heart and soul of the cool street phenomenon,” Brown added. “Small chains, start-ups and little guys are those most thriving in those locations, and this is largely driven by rents, which stand at roughly 55 per cent of the average asking rate of the nearest Class A mall or high street shopping district.”

Millennials make up 31 per cent of the population of Mount Pleasant, where the average household income is $85,689, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

The report cites the other 14 coolest North American shopping districts as:

  • Sunset Park in Brooklyn, New York;
  • Logan Square in Chicago, Illinois;
  • Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, Ohio;
  • RiNo in Denver, Colorado;
  • Silver Lake in Los Angeles, California;
  • Wynwood in Miami, Florida;
  • North Loop in Minneapolis, Minnesota;
  • Roosevelt Row in Phoenix, Arizona;
  • Carytown in Richmond, Virginia;
  • East Village in San Diego, California;
  • Jackson Square in San Francisco. California;
  • Delmar Loop in St. Louis, Missouri;
  • West Queen West in Toronto; and
  • Shaw in Washington DC.

However, the same report describes Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood as “up and coming” so perhaps its findings should be taken with a grain of salt.

Joannah Connolly
Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condo, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 22 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio.