“One grande, non-fat, sugar-free vanilla latte with a side of rising property values to go, please.”

Ah, Starbucks. Whether you love or hate paying $5 (at least) for the privilege of toting around that twin-tailed mermaid, you should yelp with joy if you see the familiar green sign going up in your neighbourhood. Or, even better, your building. Why? Because Starbucks and Real Estate go hand in hand.

Starbucks isn’t just any cafe. It is a corporate giant that invests big money analyzing data and demographics to choose where it sets up shop. When it opens a location, it is because it strongly believes it will do well. A new Starbucks is a vote of confidence. It says: “This is a neighbourhood where people will buy overpriced coffee.” (Listen, I can admit when I’m being duped.)

Starbucks1The good news doesn’t stop there. Like attracts like. When a Starbucks moves into an up-and-coming area, more businesses soon follow. Streetscapes perk up. And that attracts people who are willing to shell out to be part of something exciting. Next thing you know, semi-detached homes are going for$100,000 over asking and 500-square-foot units sell within days. Need proof? Starbucks opened in Leslieville, at the corner of Queen and Logan, in 2006. We all know how that turned out.


Starbucks2But it’s not just Starbucks that signals good times ahead. Gentrification – the fancy word for urban renewal and increasing property values – comes in many forms: a renovated Shoppers, a new bistro, an indie boutique selling rare Japanese toys ­… to adults. The Holy Grail is a Whole Foods. The gourmet grocer has such an impact on communities that experts coined the phrase “the Whole Foods Effect.” One study found that a location raises local home prices by 17. 5 per cent!

In case you’re wondering, Whole Foods has four Toronto locations in development, including at Front and Bathurst, and Yonge and Sheppard. Interested? Give me a call – 416-888-1844.




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