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Brivia launching major Vancouver, Montreal developments

Brivia Group has launched the second phase of its $1.2 billion 1 Square Phillips development in d...

IMAGE: Brivia Group is ready to proceed with its proposed 60-storey Passive House tower at 1075 Nelson St., in Vancouver, pending an April 19 development permit decision by the city. (Courtesy Brivia Group)

Brivia Group is ready to proceed with its proposed 60-storey Passive House tower at 1075 Nelson St., in Vancouver, pending an April 19 development permit decision by the city. (Courtesy Brivia Group)

Brivia Group has launched the second phase of its $1.2 billion 1 Square Phillips development in downtown Montreal and hopes to launch what it says will be the world’s tallest Passive House building this fall in downtown Vancouver’s West End.

The Montreal-based developer will add a 21-storey building with 324 condominium units to the perimeter of the main 61-storey building at 1 Square Phillips.

In Vancouver, Brivia plans to erect a 60-storey tower at 1075 Nelson St., at the northeast corner of Nelson and Thurlow Streets.

“We have already completed public hearings and zoning approvals (for the Vancouver development),” said Vincent Kou, chief investment and development officer at Brivia, in an interview with RENX.

A decision on the development permit is expected April 19, according to the City of Vancouver, “with a view that we would be able to launch the project this year,” Kou said.

1075 Nelson in Vancouver

The building will include 350 condominium units on its upper levels, 102 social housing units in its lower levels and 49 market-rental units as the building would replace existing rental apartments. There would be 10 levels of underground parking with space for 321 cars and 1,042 bicycles.

Passive houses are ultra-low-energy buildings which consume up to 90 per cent less heating and cooling energy than conventional buildings.

Normally found in smaller structure, the Passive House standard has never been applied in such a tall building, Kou said. The 585-foot tower would rank among the tallest in Vancouver.

Brivia is still working on the branding and marketing for the development.

“It sits right in the core downtown CBD area, attractive to many young professionals,” Kou said. “It’s already an area that is quite attractive with its commercial offerings and hotels and restaurants, so this will add another element to the entire CBD.”

The project had originally been planned by Henson Developments, but Brivia acquired the property in November.

Brivia envisions a 2027 completion if the project launches this fall.

Phase 2 at 1 Square Phillips

Kou said the timing for the launch of Phase 2 of 1 Square Phillips is good, given the gradual return of business to downtown Montreal and the success of Phase 1, in which 90 per cent of the condo units have been sold.

“Especially since the beginning of this year, the dynamics of the market really restarted again.”

IMAGE: The second phase at Brivia Group's 1 Square Phillips in Montreal is a 21-storey residential tower. (Courtesy Brivia Group)

The second phase at Brivia Group’s 1 Square Phillips in Montreal is a 21-storey residential building. (Courtesy Brivia Group)

The Phase 1 building contains 498 condo units and 298 rental units.

1 Square Phillips is being built between Place Phillips and Saint-Alexandre Street in the block between Sainte-Catherine Street and René-Lévesque Boulevard.

The eighth and ninth floors of Phase 1, which launched officially in July 2020, are currently being built and the tower is expected to reach the 20-storey mark this summer.

Construction of the nearly $650 million Phase 1 is on schedule and the building is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

Buyers for Phase 1 units have been prominently end-users as the investor market shrunk during the pandemic, Kou said.

He noted the percentage of end-user buyers is higher than it’s been for any other downtown Brivia development: “You basically have a lot of the baby boomer generation switching from their single-family homes.”

Brivia, with its 1 Square Phillips and Devimco, with its Maestria condo development on Sainte-Catherine Street, both say they are building the tallest residential project in the city.

Differences between Phases 1 and 2

Phase 2 units at 1 Square Phillips will be smaller than those in Phase 1 and “are tailored very much to the new professionals who still want to work downtown,” Kou said.

Studios and one- and two-bedroom units will be available in the new phase at an average cost of about $1,250 per square foot. The starting price for units is $322,900.

As a result of the pandemic, co-working spaces have been increased. Other amenities include a lounge area, rooftop terrace, interior courtyard and dog park. Having a dog park downtown is one of the unique aspects of the development, Kou said.

Phase 2 is scheduled for delivery in 2025, while current Phase 3 plans call for a hotel of about 14 storeys.

“We have not changed our plans, but we have to revisit the situation,” Kou said. “The pandemic has changed a lot in terms of the tourism industry.”

A decision as to whether a hotel will be built in Phase 3 will be made this year to optimize construction work between the second and third phases, he said.

Other Brivia Group developments

Elsewhere, sales for the $200 million Le Mansfield condo development in downtown Montreal are going “better than expected,” given that the project was launched virtually in the middle of a lockdown, Kou said. More than 45 per cent of the units have been sold.

The development, which replaces the former Loews Theatre, will rise at the corner of Ste-Catherine and Mansfield Streets next to the Sun Life Building and across from Place Ville Marie.

Demolition is being completed this week and the plan is to launch construction in the coming days for completion in late 2025 or early 2026.

Brivia expects to complete the 19-storey Link Apartments development in downtown Montreal this summer. The rental project at 1664 Lincoln St., close to Concordia University, consists of furnished “micro-apartments.”

Students are expected to move in in September and a launch promotion is offering students who sign a one-year lease two months of free rent. “It’s right next to Concordia, so it will attract a lot of students. It’s the only new building in the area.”

This month, Brivia is launching the third phase of its LB9 rental unit development in Quebec City. The first two phases include 434 units in two towers.

In addition, a single-family dwelling project in West Vancouver, next to the private Collingwood School, is in its early stages.

Brivia also hopes to launch later this year or early next year the first phase of a multi-phased mixed-use project with residential, office and retail components in Markham, in the northeastern portion of the Greater Toronto Area.

The development on Highway 7 between South Town Centre and Warden Avenue “is progressing with rezoning with the city,” Kou said.

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