CBRE Helps The Ballroom Bowl Pin Down Two New Toronto Locations

April 1, 2024 3 Minute Read

Alex Edmison at the grand opening of Yokville bowling alley - The Ballroom

Premium casual bowling concept The Ballroom Bowl is ready to roll with the opening of its second Toronto location, an 18,000 sq. ft. space spanning two floors at 1 Bloor East. The deal was brokered by CBRE’s Alex Edmison.

“It’s a very rare opportunity to get that much square footage in such a prominent location,” says Edmison, who notes that Ballroom Bowl took the spot formerly occupied by an upscale grocery store, with a large ground-level entrance off Yonge Street and the bulk of the space below ground.

The Ballroom Bowl, run by entrepreneur Paul Donato, plans to open another location at 10 Dundas St. E, in the former Shark Club space at the Yonge and Dundas Square complex known as The Tenor, alongside Shake Shack’s first Canadian location and a new Hard Rock Café. That Ballroom Bowl deal was also done by Edmison.

“Bowling is back in vogue, and we’re seeing the trend of social gaming really growing around North America,” he says, adding that he is working with The Ballroom Bowl on further expansion across the Greater Toronto Area. “We are under-served in Toronto when it comes to bowling and social gaming in general. It’s like a bowling desert here and people want more.”

The Ballroom Bowl’s initial location opened in 2010 at John and Richmond in the Entertainment District. Donato has called it the first premium casual bowling spot in downtown Toronto. The Yorkville location is intended to be a sleeker, more upscale version of the John Street location with an elevated food and cocktail offering.

Alex Edmison at the grand opening of Yokville bowling alley - The Ballroom
CBRE’s Alex Edmison with The Ballroom Bowl’s Paul Donato.

Bowling and Bites

The Ballroom Bowl will be a welcome addition to Bloor-Yorkville’s food and beverage offerings.

Edmison says there is a surprising lack of options in an area that is serviced by two subway lines and sees loads of foot traffic from the office towers, hotels and condos dotting the node.

Things have begun to change in recent years. Eataly came to Manulife Centre at Bay and Bloor in 2019; Earls just opened there too, a CBRE deal. Café Landwer launched at 33 Bloor St. E, another CBRE deal. And Chick-fil-A opened its first Canadian location at 1 Bloor St. E.

But there is room for plenty more. “The density at Bloor-Yorkville is beyond comparison,” Edmison says. “The fact we don’t have a broader range of food and beverage options there is a missed opportunity.”

The Ballroom Bowl’s opening at First Capital’s 1 Bloor E will be another step toward improving the situation.

The deal was done prior to Nordstrom Rack announcing its departure from the same property. “First Capital moved quickly on this,” says Edmison. “They immediately grasped the vision we had for The Ballroom Bowl and saw that it was about the evolution of the live, work and play offerings at 1 Bloor E. It rounds things out nicely.”

And the momentum that came from the 1 Bloor deal helped to bring the 10 Dundas deal together with BentallGreenoak.

“Bowling is a destination that requires big spaces, so we can make use of locations that might not work for others,” says Edmison. “The beauty of a space is in the eye of the beholder, and with 1 Bloor and 10 Dundas we saw them as the perfect spots for Ballroom Bowl.

“We think we’ve thrown a couple of strikes here.”

Grand opening of The Ballroom - a bowling alley in Yorkville

Recent Insights

Stay In The Know

Subscribe today and join hundreds of professionals who get the latest blogs delivered straight to their inbox.