Morningside and Lawrence plaza to get facelift

Change is coming to Kingston Square.

First Capital Realty bought the plaza, on the northwest corner of Morningside Avenue and Lawrence Avenue East, on Aug. 16.

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Though change is on the way, the new owner isn’t planning anything too dramatic, said First Capital vice-president Jamie Chisholm.

“Probably at the very least esthetically improve it: bring in some nicer landscaping, make the face and exterior a little more updated and compatible with the evolving and improving neighbourhood,” he said.

First Capital also owns Morningside Crossing across the street, which used to be called Morningside Mall. When the company purchased it in 2005, it was deteriorating, Chisholm said.

“It was about 3,000 square feet and was probably more than half empty,” he said. “We tried to make it more pedestrian friendly and tried to reinvigorate the area. And I think if you go to the site now, you’ll see a very busy, thriving, 100 per cent occupied plaza.”

Chisholm said Kingston Square, unlike Morningside Mall in 2005, is in good shape with tenants that are performing well. He added First Capital had been trying to buy Kingston Square for a few years.

“Once we’ve made an investment in a location or an area in the city,” he said, “we tend to buy adjacent parcels to continue to invest in the area.”

Kingston Square sits in a good location, Chisholm said, because three busy streets — Morningside Avenue, Kingston Road and Lawrence Avenue East — bound it with easy access to transit.

First Capital doesn’t currently have plans to add more stores, he said, adding the company is still speaking to tenants to understand their needs.

“Some tenants might want to expand, others might not,” Chisholm said. “We’d like to hear what they have to say first. Over the next six months we’ll begin to develop a more specific plan but I wouldn’t anticipate anything radical.”