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Historic Loblaw warehouse gets a makeover

About 100,000 bricks will be taken down and restored to new building

The historic Loblaw Groceterias building in downtown Toronto is being restored thanks to a redevelopment project unveiled Wednesday morning.

Choice Properties and Wittington Properties plan to revitalize the building to create West Block – an urban community that includes retail shops, office space and residential towers.

A 50,000-sq.-ft. Loblaw store will anchor the 245,000-sq.-ft. of leasable space.

The former Loblaws warehouse and head office was established in 1928. Many grocery staples such as tea, coffee, candy, peanut butter and eggs were manufactured and packaged in the building.

Warehouse employees enjoyed perks such as in-house bowling alleys, billiard tables and a cafeteria with a stage for concerts.

In the ‘70s, Loblaw relocated, and the warehouse space was leased to the Daily Bread Food Bank from 1991 to 2000. The property has been empty ever since.

In 2001, the site received heritage designation from the City of Toronto.

To preserve the integrity of the original building, Choice Properties CEO John Morrison estimates nearly 100,000 bricks will be taken down, carefully catalogued, and preserved in Port Credit, Ont. until being re-incorporated to restore the building to its “original glory.”

The bronze doorframe belonging to the office entrance of the original Loblaw building will also be salvaged and restored.

The project, named the West Block, is scheduled for completion by spring 2019.

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