Pho Hoang Vietnamese restaurant has moved from their long time Sargent location near Arlington to the downtown area at 235 Portage Avenue. The previous tenant Kim Long Chinese food closed a while ago. A steady migration of Chinese food establishments have opened along Pembina Highway. It is difficult to say if it is the main reason for some of the closings elsewhere but it probably has had an impact.
Sargent Avenue has long been the incubator for ethnic restaurants. The competition from big chains there is unlikely and locations are small enough to make a go of it. Many newcomers are in the area and good food connoisseurs will come from around the city to experience tasty restaurant fare.
The location at 235 Portage is one of the pretty buildings just a little bit down from Portage and Main. If the street opened, it is possible the location would see even more foot traffic in front of it. As it is, there are some well established businesses and organizations along the street but that a little dash of excitement would be good.
The new 40 floor residential tower will be going up over the next two years just off the intersection and Hyatt Place Hotel is under construction on Portage East. More people are coming. It will also be interesting to see what happens in the ScotiaBank building now that they de-camped to True North Square.
Suffice to say that more people are living downtown than in the past number of years. Some areas such as around the BellMTS have come alive from multiple developments. However, you don't have to be too far removed from that sphere to die of neglect.
Restaurants are a tough business at the best of times. This is a big move for a business in operation since 2010. It will be interesting if more businesses can extend the streetlife beyond 5 PM and what sort of foot, bike and car traffic they will get that will stop by and get involved.
Lots of interesting things are happening but the new dynamic has yet to reveal itself downtown.