Late last December we launched a three-part series which documented vacant storefronts, recent relocations as well as new businesses in downtown Kingston. In part one we combed lower Princess Street from Ontario to Division, highlighting unfortunate closures such as S&R and Downtown Kingston Sports, as well as positive growth including Urban Outfitters and Sima Sushi. Our second episode took aim at downtown side streets, while it celebrated new additions such as The Iron Duke, The Kitschen and Dwell Boutique.
Thus far, this series has generated an outstanding conversation, which proves that many people are concerned about the current state, and future composition of downtown Kingston. The time has come for our final snapshot, which will focus on upper Princess Street, or midtown if you prefer, specifically the section between Division and Bath Road. A general guide to our area of interest is highlighted in red on the map, which is displayed above.
Recent Closures and Vacancies
- Jumbo Video, 168 Division Street: this DVD and game rental chain used to lure customers in with free popcorn. Jumbo boarded up this location a long time ago and now operates out of the Kingston Centre.
- Open Text, 544 Princess Street: did you know that the largest Canadian-based software-centric company has an office in Kingston? Sadly Open Text moved from the downtown to Gardiners Road.
- 7 Eleven/Esso, Princess and Alfred: we’ve heard conflicting reports as to why 7 Eleven and Esso couldn’t get along. Regardless, the downtown was left with one less gas station and another vacant lot.
- Antique Dealer, 571 Princess Street: this was once a paradise for hoarders and pack rats alike. The red brick building is now on the market boasting two commercial and seven residential units.
- Budget Car Rental, 601 Princess Street: one of many vacant automotive lots in downtown Kingston.
- Sunoco, Princess and Nelson: the second former gas station on this stretch of Princess. In light of underground storage tanks and environmental concerns, how soon will we see anything happen here?
- Vacant Lot, Princess and Nelson: it’s hard to believe, but a Keg steakhouse used to be here. The building was levelled some time ago, leaving us with another magnet for garbage and shopping carts.
- Vacant Storefront, 662 Princess Street: the first vacant Springer owned property we noticed on our magical mystery tour. It’s definitely not the most attractive building, so vacancies are expected.
- Vacant Storefront, 668 Princess Street: another gem brought to you by the Springer Group of Companies.
- Hertz Rental Car, Victoria and Princess: the second abandoned car rental property on this strip.
- Toyota Dealership, Victoria and Princess: a long time ago, Toyota pulled the plug on their downtown dealership, and relocated out Bath Road near Frontenac Secondary. Another massive void to be filled.
- Vacant Storefront, 728 Princess Street: in this instance the vacant storefront makes a lot of sense.
- Vacant Storefront, 847 Princess Street: while this may not be the most attractive building, it’s certainly not the worst we’ve seen. Lot’s of room at this location, and it’s steps away from the acclaimed Star Diner.
Recent Additions and Relocations
- Unnamed Sushi Restaurant, 168 Division Street: as reported above, Jumbo Video used to call this building home. A freshly posted notice indicates that it will be transformed into a sushi resto.
- Arisu, 185 Division Street: the former home of Dixie Lee and Spaghetti is Ready was recently transformed into yet another sushi restaurant. Get ready to spot a trend as we make our way up the street.
- The Spot, 394 Princess Street: Smijies became the Smij, which then became Bar None, which is now called The Spot. Someone is bet and bound to make a student-friendly bar work at this location.
- Legendz, 424 Princess Street: when the owners of the Griz/Stages/Alehouse etc… terminated Gusto’s, we wondered what could possibly step in to fill the void. The owners of Lino’s answered the call with Legendz, however they’ve been having some problems with their liquor licence as of late.
- Iron Legends, 432 Princess Street: this business has a colourful storefront, while they offer a strange mix of products and services ranging from motorcycle parts to tattoos, body piercing and more.
- Green Tray, 461 Princess Street: I’ve heard good things about this chic new resto. Can’t wait to try it out.
- Cyclepath, 471 Princess Street: Cyclepath moved from 354 Princess St to this new location. In light of the closure of Downtown Kingston Sports, this downtown bike shop is desperately needed.
- Izumo, 499 Princess Street: Discover Japan was a hole in the wall that used to serve some outstanding sushi. Nowadays, the place has a brand new look and feel, while it goes by the name of Izumo.
- The Mansion, 506 Princess Street: after failed attempts by the Peel Pub and Filthy McNasty’s, this iconic building is once again bustling with activity, thanks in part to the live music in their Living Room.
- Olympic Barber Shop, 521 Princess Street: Olympic disappeared a few years ago when it was renamed Dino’s Barbershop. It recently resurfaced in this new, student-friendly location.
- Change Health Care, 559 Princess Street: an addiction treatment clinic that’s focused on counselling and treating people who are addicted to opiates (heroin, morphone, percocet etc…).
- The Jewellery Box, 637 Princess Street: we were sad to see the Hind Quarter close up shop, but we’re happy to see The Jewellery Box slide in to fill the void. I believe this is a pawn shop of sorts.
- Gold n Pawn, 637 Princess Street: another pawn shop, which moved in after the Hind Quarter closed.
- Xanadu Music, 647 Princess Street: one of many downtown music shops and schools.
- Howard Johnson, 686 Princess Street: this hotel presently operates as a Rest Inn, however a banner on the storefront indicates that it will soon become a Howard Johnson.
- Sushi Ya, 766 Princess Street: another former location of Dixie Lee, purveyors of fried chicken, which has since been transformed into sushi restaurant. We’ve tested Sushi Ya, and we approve!