Business turnover in the Glebe worries some store owners

le .

Glebe BIA says neighbourhood is in transition and that 40 stores have recently opened

Several empty storefronts are making a section of Bank Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues look unappealing, store owners say. (Sherry Aske/CBC)

CBC News

Some store owners in the Glebe say a series of empty storefronts is making a portion of Bank Street look dead.

The six empty shops sit between Fourth and Fifth avenues, right beside the boarded-up site of a spring fire.

"It makes me look like I'm not good, too; like my restaurant is not good," said Raouf Omar, owner of the Jericho Lebanese restaurant.

Near him, Roast 'N Brew Coffee Co. closed last week, the old Lansdowne sales centre has cleared out and for lease signs hang in several other empty windows.

"It's depressing to see it, especially [at] night time. With stores open you see life, you see light, but it looks like the Glebe has become a run-down area," he said.

'It's normal turnover'

But Andrew Peck, executive director of the Glebe BIA, said the neighbourhood is still transitioning after the reconstruction of Bank Street and the opening of the new Lansdowne.

"It's normal turnover," Peck said. "The way I look at that is potential."

While some stores have closed, about 40 new businesses have opened in the Glebe in the last year — 29 of them in the Lansdowne redevelopment.

"You know that light at the end of the tunnel? We're at that light. And quite frankly, thousands upon thousands of people have been coming here," he said.

Peck says foot traffic has been up thanks to events such as the FIFA Women's World Cup and outdoor concerts.

Omar said he has been seeing new faces in his restaurant, thanks to the increased foot traffic. But he said retailers have to compete with the box stores at Lansdowne and elsewhere.