New high-end retail proposed on Alberni Street at current site of Kobe steakhouse

New retail space proposed for 1042 Alberni Street, the current home of Kobe Steakhouse. Credit: CBRE

A new retail building is proposed at the current site of Kobe Steakhouse on Alberni as the street continues its transformation into Vancouver’s mink mile.

Commercial leasing agency CBRE is advertising a new two-storey retail space on the narrow site next to the Black and Blue restaurant. The new structure “offers the option for third-floor expansion and excellent street visibility with an enticing glass façade.”

Mario Negris, executive vice president with CBRE, told urbanYVR there is currently no deal in place and Kobe is not closing imminently.

The leasing brochure says “Alberni and Thurlow streets are nearly finished a major facelift, turning a once normal collection of shops and restaurants into Vancouver’s luxury row.”

Business in Vancouver reported in 2016 that the owner of Kobe had sold the land underneath his 48-year old structure to an offshore company and was on a “short-term” lease.

The Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House currently on site. Credit: Google Maps

Craig Patterson, Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider, says several luxury brands are clamouring to get into Vancouver’s emerging ‘Luxury Zone.’

“Alberni Street is in a state of transition at the moment, and landlords will continue to seek opportunities to create exceptional retail spaces for luxury brands seeking locations in the area,” he says.

“1042 Alberni Street would be great for a brand seeking nearly 6,000 square feet of flagship space — although the size also limits some brands that wouldn’t want that much space, and I doubt the landlord is willing to go “too small” given the opportunity at that address,” Patterson added.

He says luxury brands are willing to open some of their largest locations globally in Vancouver — even larger than locations in Toronto — which speaks to Vancouver’s strength in luxury retail sales, which are among the highest in North America on a per-square-foot basis.

“The space would be suitable for an international fashion brand seeking flagship space — something along the lines of Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford, Burberry or Ermenegildo Zegna — I suspect it’s less likely that a jeweller such as Graff, Bulgari, or Harry Winston would take so much space, though you never know,” says Patterson.