Owen Sound celebrates the grand opening of LCBO’s newest ‘destination’ location

June 8, 2012

Last month, members of the Owen Sound community came out to celebrate the opening of its new LCBO location at 9th Avenue East and 16th Street East, in the city’s west end. Over a hundred Owen Sound residents were in attendance, along with LCBO staff and executives, the project’s developers and builders, and the city’s mayor.

The new 12,000 square-foot site is considered a ‘destination’ location, offering residents and visitors an elegant interior, wider aisles, a walk-in refrigerated area, a larger selection of products, and a sizeable vintage wine collection.

LCBO President and CEO Bob Peter informed attendees that the location is double the size of the old store and offers an additional six or seven hundred more products than its predecessor downtown. Mr. Peter seemed particularly pleased to announce the energy efficiency of the walk-in refrigerated area, noting that the store has a cold room for beer that is refrigerated nine months of the year by outside air—so refrigeration is only used three months of the year.

Mayor Deb Haswell called the development “a signal of renewed investment in the community,” expressing confidence in the store’s ability to power economic growth for the city.

The development was put together by Avi Behar of The Behar Group Realty Inc. in partnership with Owen Lawson, Stafford Lawson, Nigel Lawson, and Michael Binder of Parallax Investment Corporation. The store was designed by II x IV Design Associates, a Toronto-based company that is recognized as one of the world’s top 50 interior design firms.

The property, which shares an access route with nearby Zehr’s, can accomodate a 4,000 square-foot free-standing building, which can be constructed on-site between the LCBO and the adjacent Zehr’s supermarket.  Tenant inquiries should be directed to The Behar Group Realty Inc. at 416-636-8898, extension 239 for Lily Masters (lmasters@thebehargroup.com), or extension 231 for Sari Samarah (sari@thebehargroup.com).

Behar Group President co-chairs successful community fundraiser

June 7, 2012

The Beth Chabad Israeli Community Centre hosted its 9th annual Spirit of Community Dinner on Wednesday, June 6th to honour the contributions of three outstanding individuals who have demonstrated their continued commitment to the Jewish community in Canada and abroad. The theme of the evening was ‘Out of the Depths,’ a celebration of the ability of people of faith to raise themselves and those around them from the direst or humblest conditions to the greatest of heights.

The event was coordinated to raise funds for the Chabad Israeli Community Centre, a registered charity committed to extending support and friendship to newcomers to Canada in the area. Behar Group President and Broker of Record Yosi Behar, who co-chaired the event with Michael Di Biase, offered a welcome greeting to attendees later in the evening, after a musical interlude. “It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the Spirit of Community Dinner. This elegant evening benefits the Chabad Israeli Community Centre—a charity I actively support and admire. I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to the honourees this evening, each of whom is respected for his activities, leadership, and generosity in support of community and country.”  

The evening’s honourees were the Honourable John Baird, Mr. Carlo Baldassarra, and Mr. Mordechai Ronen. The Hon. Mr. Baird received the Community Service Award for his service to Canada as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Baldassarra received the Community Spirit Award in honour of his generous contributions to numerous healthcare, cultural, and youth-oriented institutions. Mr. Ronen received the Community Heritage Award in honour of his achievements and in remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust, of which Mr. Ronen is a survivor.

Several dignitaries extended personal greetings and best wishes for the evening, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Premier Dalton McGuinty; the Honourable Peter Kent; the Honourable Julian Fantino; Peter Shurman, MPP, Thornhill; Greg Sorbara, MPP, Vaughan; Bill Fisch, York Region Chairman and CEO; the Honourable Maurizio Bevilacqua; and Amir Gissin, the Consul General of Israel.

ICSC Las Vegas Real Estate Convention pays attention to Canadian markets

May 30, 2012

Earlier this month, Sari Samarah of The Behar Group Realty Inc. attended the International Council of Shopping Centres’ (ICSC) Las Vegas Real Estate Convention (RECON), which was held over three days in the Nevada desert in a city that is among the most celebrated in the world for the vibrancy of its retail industry. The convention offered registrants the opportunity to explore the international landscape of retail real estate in conversation with industry professionals from around the world. Featured speakers discussed assessments and projections about the economy; the impact of national and other state policies on retail real estate; emerging trends in the sector; and contemporary best practices in commercial sales and leasing.

Registrations were up this year from last. There was a noticeably more international emphasis—and a visibly more senior demographic—compared to previous years. There were no signs of flagging energy among the numerous participants, however. “We are in a period of exceptional opportunity in the economic cycle, and people know they cannot afford to be absent,” ICSC President and CEO Michael P. Kercheval reported on the association’s blog.

This year’s convention featured a Canadian Pavilion, a Cities of the World Pavilion, a Finance Pavilion, and a Technology and Social Media Pavilion—as well as a long line-up of speaking engagements by industry leaders. For Samarah, who reported returning from the event with a better understanding of the American landscape along with more than a handful of innovative business ideas, there was a clear emphasis on Canadian markets. “A retailer might pay between 15-30% more rent in Canada than in the States, and still turn over a profit because sales are better in Canada,” he observed.

Samarah was pleased to check in with representatives from current Behar Group tenant clients—including 7-Eleven, Baskin Robbins (under the Dunkin Brands umbrella), and Anytime Fitness—who appeared alongside several other big names in real estate (Terracap, Ivanhoe Cambridge, Remington Group) and retail (In-N-Out Burger, McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Jersey Mike’s, Wal-Mart, Bass Pro, Subway, Dollar Tree, and Dollar General—to name a few).

“I had several very productive meetings with professionals interested in my insider’s take on the Toronto market,” Samarah continued. “I came away from Vegas not only with a refined sense of what U.S. retailers are looking for in Canada, but with a wealth of business best practices I’m now able to share with new and existing clients.”

CEO Avi Behar was pleased to have Samarah represent The Behar Group Realty Inc. at RECon this year. “The Vegas conference is a significant opportunity for our company to connect with American retailers looking to expand into the Canadian real estate market. Our team is very knowledgeable and has extensive experience representing retailers throughout Ontario and Canada-wide.”

For more information about ICSC’s RECon event, call Sari Samarah at 416-636-8898, extension 231, or e-mail sari@thebehargroup.com. For more information about any of our tenant relationships, or if you would like to be added to our tenant roster, please contact Greg Evans, Executive Vice President, at 416-636-8898 extension 230, or by e-mail at gevans@thebehargroup.com.

The Behar Group’s twentieth birthday honoured by the Royal Bank of Canada

May 24, 2012

As companies across the city were opening for business, Yosi Behar was preparing to attend what he believed to be a regular meeting with an RBC private banking manager. But as he came into the office at 1170 Sheppard Avenue West yesterday morning, he wondered why the table in the boardroom had been pushed flush against the wall. This did not look like a regular meeting.

To Yosi’s surprise he was greeted by not one but a team of private bankers from RBC Wealth Management’s Private Banking division. The proposed meeting was in fact a presentation organized by The Behar Group’s team of private bankers at RBC, in celebration of the brokerage’s twenty years in business in commercial real estate.

Sengkee Ahn, who has worked closely with the Behar family for the last five years, presented a commemorative plaque to The Behar Group Realty, Inc. to recognize the company for “20 successful years in business,” and to honour the Behar family’s forty-year partnership with the bank. Speaking on behalf of his RBC colleagues, whom Yosi affectionately calls ‘The Dream Team,’ Mr. Ahn said, “We all feel very connected to the business and to the family.”

Sengkee Ahn was accompanied by fellow ‘Dream Team’ members Leeann Signorotti, RVP of Private Banking, Hadielia Yassiri, Private Banker, Aneta Siaskiewicz, Senior Private Client Associate, and Ji Wang, Manager, Credit Structures.  A card bearing congratulations and best wishes was presented to Yosi Behar. “We look forward to working together for many more years,” it said.

Ms. Signorotti added a few words with respect to the business relationship. “You value our partnership, and you approach it like a partnership. And I just want to say thank you. It really is a privilege.”

“It really has been twenty years,” said Yosi Behar, obviously pleased and very touched by the unexpected visit. “It was May 12, 1992–my birthday, in fact.” He paused briefly, then added, “To have Leeann, and all of you, here…Wow. It’s really special. I don’t know what to say. Thank you.”

Baskin-Robbins Canada’s expansion plans feature a new brand-wide store design

March 22, 2012

Baskin-Robbins has been making Canadians smile “inside and out” for almost forty years.

The company is the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty shops, creator of innovations such as hand-packed quarts of ice cream, a unique flavour ribbon technique, the use of ingredients such as apple pie and cheesecake, and the introduction of mousse-textured ice creams. Famous the world over for its unrivalled collection of ice cream flavours, the company is also well known and loved for its signature ice cream cakes and a growing line of beverages.

A leader in the ice cream industry for over 65 years, Baskin-Robbins celebrates its 40th birthday in Canada this year. In honour of the occasion the company is introducing a new brand-wide store design that includes lounge-style seating, pink spoon door handles, and textured walls in the style of its classic waffle cones.

“We’ve received consistently positive feedback on the new design from the landlord and developer community,” said Greg Evans, Executive Vice President of The Behar Group, who handle site selection for Baskin-Robbins Canada.

Along with the new design, the company is preparing for expansions across the country, with an initial focus on Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

“We are actively seeking new Baskin-Robbins franchisees throughout Canada,” said Bob Tipple, director and general manager for Baskin-Robbins Canada, in a company release.

The company is currently on the lookout for sites, favouring neighbourhood shopping centres or busy streetfront locations, preferably with a grocery anchor or other daily traffic generator.

The ideal store size for Baskin-Robbins is between 900 and 1,200 square feet, with a minimum 18-foot frontage. A patio is preferred.

The company is also open to non-food-court mall locations, typically in busy traffic corridors, with ideal unit sizes of between 400 and 500 square feet.

For more information, contact Greg Evans at (416) 636-8898, extension 230 (gevans@thebehargroup.com) or Barbara Kless at (416) 636-8898, extension 240 (bkless@thebehargroup.com).