Toronto's Housing Bubble Is Crushing The Strip Club Industry

Until now, Canada's soaring housing prices were just another innocent asset bubble spawned by low interest rates and an endless supply of Chinese cash that needed to get laundered.  That said, massive bubbles are almost always followed by severe unintended consequences that can have a crippling impact on society as a whole...and in Toronto those unintended consequences are now manifesting themselves in the form of a rapidly deteriorating supply of strip clubs.

As Bloomberg points out today, the soaring value of Toronto real estate has made it all but impossible for strip club owners to turn down multi-million offers from condo developers leaving only a dozen strip clubs in a city whose purple neon lights used to be easily visible from the distant fringes of our solar system.

Condos are killing the Toronto strip club. In a city that once had more than 60 bars with nude dancers, only a dozen remain, the rest replaced by condominiums, restaurants, and housewares stores. Demand for homes downtown and for the retailers that serve them is driving land prices to records, tempting owners of the clubs, most of which are family-run, to sell at a time when business is slowing.


“Sometimes I feel like the last living dinosaur along Yonge Street,” says Allen Cooper, the second-generation owner of the famous—or infamous—Zanzibar Tavern. The former divorce lawyer says he has been approached by at least 30 suitors for his property in the past few years but is holding out for a “blow my socks off” offer. “I don’t know how many condos we’re going to get, but it seems like just a wall” of them, Cooper says.


Of course, with ~1-acre plots of land selling for C$225 million, it's not difficult to understand why strip club owners are increasingly choosing to shut off their neon signs for good...even with the consolidation of market share it's nearly impossible to make that lap dance math pencil out.

Remington’s Men of Steel, a male dance club behind a heavy door, sold to KingSett Capital Inc., which last year flipped it to Cresford Developments as part of a bigger portfolio on that block that went for about C$160 million ($125 million), according to real estate data supplier Altus Group. That club is closing next year, to be replaced by a 98-story condo.


The fading of the strip-club era can be seen in a five-block area along Yonge Street, near Toronto’s counterpart to Times Square, Yonge-Dundas Square. It was once dubbed Sin Strip for its neon-clad bars, sex shops, and movie theaters. Today there are about 20 development applications for condos and commercial buildings on the stretch.


Farther north, an entire city block is a construction site as two condo towers and some retail space replace a strip of colorful and creaky buildings that once offered body piercing and pole-dancing shoes. “We target a very specific market, mostly men. We’re not a shopping destination, so more people doesn’t mean a lot more business,” says Bill Greer, general manager and three-decade veteran of the Brass Rail Tavern, a two-story club in the area. “I don’t think we’ll be around in 10 years’ time.” Just outside the Brass Rail’s doors, a 75-story residential tower opened this year on a piece of land that cost C$53 million. An 80-story luxury tower is under construction following a C$225 million deal for less than 1 acre, according to data from Altus.

But at least one Toronto strip club owner, Spiro Koumoudouros of the House of Lancaster, has drawn a line in the sand saying he's not going anywhere..."What am I going to do, sit at home and die?"...if only we could all exhibit such courage in times of extreme crisis. 

Finally, since we know your interest in this story was only prompted by your desire to see a larger version of the teaser you go:



Laowei Gweilo Cognitive Dissonance Tue, 12/12/2017 - 23:04 Permalink

It's actually pretty standard urbanization...Look at any similar city. How many gas stations or strib clubs remain downtown NY or London.As urbanization densifies, businesses that cannot operate as ground level tenants of offices/condos always get pushed out, irregardless of how dramatic that urbaniziation densification is. It's a catchy headline cuz TITS and BUBBLES but practically speaking this actually one of the most (and maybe the one only) sane behaviours going on in TO real estate.

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

opport.knocks Laowei Gweilo Wed, 12/13/2017 - 07:01 Permalink

Exactly, that section of Yonge Street was super-sleazy for 5 decades and is now just being cleaned up and gentrified, by the booming Toronto gay community of course. No mention in ZH of the hair salons, leather shops, head shops, etc that are also being pushed out by gentrification. No catchy headline there.Traditional strip clubs are still opening further out where the heterosexuals live and work,

In reply to by Laowei Gweilo

Cluster_Frak Tue, 12/12/2017 - 23:03 Permalink

I went to a titty bar in Toronto.Canadians do not have dollar bills, they have coins. I was not quite sure what to do with the coin, but once I saw THE slot, I knew what to do. The stripper went wild.

Davidduke2000 Tue, 12/12/2017 - 23:09 Permalink

the millennials do not go to strip clubs, but with the new fad of sexual accusations escort services will boom as well as hotels, it is cheaper for men now to have an escort once or twice a week than having to chase women who will turn around and scream rape.

Fartsnifferbuffet Tue, 12/12/2017 - 23:29 Permalink

I see nice hot escorts once every two weeks 300 for hr but i sweet talk them down to a hundred dollar bill honey its only gonna take me 15 min of pounding that sweet tight hole till i bust a nut then home and go sleep alone no fukin bitch in house all women are good for is a fuk any more is trouble my bitch up and fuked off on me after 14 yrs just like nothing happened fukin women