BIA on Queen East? Again?

The north side of Queen St is part of Trefann Court, so rumblings about yet another attempt to resurrect a BIA are of interest to us. Chris Moise’s July 2024 newsletter states he is “working to restore the Historic Queen Street East Business Improvement Area (BIA)” by Dec 2024. He’s soliciting property or business owners to get involved.

The June 2024 Bridge article questions whether there are sufficient commercial properties along Queen E to make this BIA viable. As previously explained by a Queen business owner, a 2007 attempt at a Queen East BIA didn’t succeed because of insufficient # of retail businesses along Queen East. The BIA’s 2008 AGM minutes gives details why it failed. Although notified in 2008 that the BIA was dissolved, the city pretends that the BIA is simply dormant.

Corktown Association has discussed BIA for ages:
• “It’s time for a Change on Queen Street East – We Have a BIA” (2006)
• “There is no BIA for Corktown and, with the exception of one or two business owners who are active in the CRBA, the local businesses are not engaged in the community.” (2015)
• Many businesses in the area are interested in Corktown and the Board has an opportunity to develop a BIA Lite style of outreach. (2020)
• started discussions to form a Corktown BIA (2021)

Take a walk along Queen St today, from Parliament to River to see how few retail businesses exist (see below). Many Queen St addresses (the majority of street frontages) are either residential, institutional, or vacant storefronts. It’s perplexing why Mr. Moise thinks that the few active commercial properties on this stretch of Queen E could sustain a BIA. Higher taxes to pay BIA fees would make it even harder to rent out the many vacant storefronts.

Here is an inventory of “non-retail” frontage (or vacant stores) on Queen (“retail” includes restaurants). On the south side of Queen, east of Parliament:
Parliament to Power: # 351-373 (vacant stores)
Power to Sackville: church, school (entire block)
Sackville to St. Paul: 423-439 (retail), 441 (office)
St. Paul to Bright: 443-463 (residential), 465 (office)
Bright to Sumach: 467 (retail), 469 (residential), 471-477 (empty lot / future condo), 479 (vacant), 481 (retail)
Sumach to River: 489 (office), 491-501 (retail), 503-509 (residential), 511 (gallery), 513-517 (vacant), 519 (office), 521 (vacant), 523-527 (office), 529-531 (retail), 533 (office), 535 (condo), 541 (office)

North side of Queen, east of Parliament:
Parliament to Trefann: # 348 (retail), 350 (vacant), 352 (retail), 354 (vacant), 356 (retail), 358 (vacant), 360-364 (retail), 366 (vacant), 368-372 (retail), 378-392 (vacant)
Trefann to Tracy: 388-392 (vacant), 394-404 (retail), 412 (men’s shelter)
Tracy to Sackville: 418 (residential), 420 (gallery), 426 (condo), 428-438 (office)
Sackville to Sumach: 440-459 (residential), parking lot, 468-478 (office/vacant), 496 (retail), 500 (vacant bar)
Sumach to Fee Pl: 502-508 (vacant), 510 (retail), 512-522 (residential), 524-534 (office)
Fee Place to River: 540 (senior’s home), 500-554 (office)

Quoting the Bridge article: “”If the city is interested in re­vitalizing the Queen East strip, why not invest $300,000 itself [eg. using Section 37 funds]. … If Dixon Hall, a large non-prof­it organization, can receive $500,000 to subsidize renova­tion at its Sumach Street loca­tion, then businesses at Queen and Sherbourne, fending off drug dealers daily, are deserving of city support.”

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