A much-discussed McDonald’s restaurant location on Rideau Street will close at the end of April.
A spokesperson for the property owner confirmed Wednesday that the lease for the space occupied by McDonald’s had not been renewed by the tenant.
They decided not to renew. It’s not our decision,” said Peter Crosthwaite of property owner 60 George Street. They’ve been a great tenant for almost 50 years. They’re smart people. Maybe it was time for a change. Maybe they didn’t feel comfortable…
“McDonald’s doesn’t tell us why they make their decisions, that’s for sure, but they’re super smart people.”
For much of its time in the space with entrances from both Rideau Street to the south and George Street to the north, the fast food restaurant had for some time been open 24 hours a day. However, that changed in 2019, when its operating hours were cut back to between 6 am and 10 pm daily in response to numerous complaints to police, including a sexual assault that sent one woman to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The lease owner at that time, Adeel Hashmi, issued a statement through McDonald’s corporate public relations saying the reduction in hours was “the right thing to do for the neighbor at this time, and I look forward to continuing working with Ottawa Police, OC Transpo.” and the City of Ottawa. We all have a role in helping make this neighbor as strong and safe as it can be.”
An Ottawa Police Service spokesperson confirmed that officers responded to a call for service about a sexual assault at the restaurant on the morning of April 10, 2019. A man was arrested.
In another incident, a video of a brawl between several men in the restaurant in 2014 went viral when it was posted online again in 2016, in part because a bystander to the fight appeared to pull a baby raccoon out of his coat.
Crosthwaite said the location being vacated by McDonald’s had only been back on the market since Christmas, but there had already been expressions of interest for the 4,561-square-feet space, although that could be combined with a neighboring space to create 7,855 square feet overall .
“It would sure be nice to have a similar group,” Crosthwaite said. Our real-estate people say this is not a bad thing. After 50 years, maybe it’s a nice thing to put a new face on the building. It sort of makes it a little more dynamic and exciting to the public when they see something new.
“I don’t like to see new stuff, but we’re fortunate that we have good people who are working on it.”
The online real estate posting says the space will be available for a new tenant as of July 1, 2023.
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