London bakery owner buys plaza in effort to keep businesses 'neighbourhood-friendly'

The owner of a well-known London bakery has purchased the entire Dundas Street plaza in which it operates, hoping to prevent an adult entertainment business from setting up shop in the area.

Roy O’Connor, owner of Lynn’s Bakery and Deli, says he got a call from the property’s owner in November of last year and jumped at the opportunity to buy the building.

“I wanted to have a little bit of control of what happens here in the east end of London and put some more neighbourhood-friendly businesses into play here,” said O’Connor.

“I’m really looking forward to that. We have two of the locations already leased out, and there’s been a lot of attention on the third one.”

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Recently, O’Connor’s business has been caught up in political battles over a nearby unit in the plaza that was once the home to strip club Famous Flesh Gordon’s and later became the proposed location of a new “adult entertainment” business. By purchasing the plaza, the bakery owner aims to prevent similar businesses from operating there in future.

According to the City of London’s business licensing bylaw, only a certain number of adult entertainment businesses are allowed to operate in the city. When the licence for an adult entertainment location expires, the bylaw gives politicians an opportunity to remove that property from the city’s roster.

That is what will be considered at city hall on Tuesday evening: the community and protective services committee will look at whether or not to remove 2190 Dundas St. from city hall’s roster of adult entertainment facilities. Full council will have the final say on the matter later this month.

Staff are recommending the location be removed from city hall’s business licensing, and O’Connor is looking to take the future of the property in his own hands.

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The bakery owner says plans are already underway for Forrat’s Chocolate Lounge and Throw, an axe-throwing entertainment company, to open up shop in the plaza.

As Lynn’s prepares to celebrate 40 years in business, O’Connor says he wanted to make sure the bakery was set up for continued success.

“My son is going to succeed me in this business, and I know he wants a great location to operate out of, and this is one of the ways that I could change that, and that’s been one of the biggest factors,” O’Connor said of his decision to purchase the property.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to take this step. Luckily, it came at a time when we were able to do it.”

O’Connor says he is looking to go a different direction with the venue, hoping for something that will better fit the plaza’s neighbourhood feel.

“It enables us to keep something positive in the neighbourhood all the time, and that’s all I really want. I want something positive for our neighbours, I want something positive for the bakery and I want something that our clientele will embrace,” he said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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