Bank Street BIA rebrand underway

The Downtown Bank Street Business Improvement Area has an extensive rebranding campaign underway, with the goal of attracting more shoppers and trendy retailors to the street.

The BIA on Wednesday even unveiled a redesigned logo, with the tag line, “Downtown. At the intersection of everything.”

The BIA plans to reel in new patrons by appealing to the growing condo market, which has drawn many young people to the city’s core. According to the BIA, 17 condos were built in the last five years, while seven are currently under construction. Another 13 are waiting for approval.

The BIA is even collecting a hotlist of retailers that shoppers want to see along the street. Real estate brokers who land one of these businesses will receive a $5,000 bonus from the BIA.

“The BIA is trying to take a more active role in controlling the retail matrix of the street just so we can meet the needs of all the new residents who are moving into the area,” said Suzanne Racine, assistant director of the BIA.

Currently, there are five vacancies along the street, with spaces ranging from about 74 to 240 square metres.

Racine wants to reach out to the developers of local high-rises to let them know the BIA is looking for specific kinds of stores to enhance the area.

The street will also see an aesthetic makeover. Building facades will be improved through a grant program, sidewalks will be pressure-washed, and the streets will be cleaned and painted.

BIA chair Stephen Tanner said the rebranding campaign is the result of the BIA realizing it was “becoming a little stagnant” and not looking far enough ahead to the street’s future.

“We knew what we had to do was change the look of everything,” he said. The BIA even enlisted a Toronto firm to help overhaul the street’s image.

Tanner said the rebrand is not “an overnight event.”

“It didn’t get like this overnight,” he said. “But hopefully, it will be something we can work on very quickly.”

The BIA has set up a presentation centre at 226 Bank Street where the public and business community can let the BIA know what they want to see on the street in the future. The centre is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday until June 6.