Solstice Montreal, the latest condominium tower to be built near the Bell Centre in downtown Montreal, will stand in contrast against the “towerization” seen in other condo developments in the core, its development manager says.
“We saw all of our competition was building these office buildings and they were calling them condos,” says Benjamin Sternthal, development manager of Solstice Montreal and president and founder of Kodem. “We thought this was awful.”
Many of the new condos are “non-descript” glass structures that have “no relationship with the urban environment. We wanted to develop something different.”
Sternthal was speaking to RENX at the groundbreaking ceremony of Solstice Montreal, a 44-storey condo with 339 units that will be built on de la Montagne street south of René Lévesque Boulevard.
Solstice is being built at a cost of about $160 million, with project financing by National Bank. It’s being developed by Consortium QMD–Ménard which is comprised of Les Entreprises QMD, Les Habitations Sylvain Ménard, Harden, Kastello Immobilier and Gestion S.J.-S.F.
The principal members, Les Entreprises QMD and Les Habitations Sylvain Ménard, are both construction firms. QMD’s projects include renovations of the Bell Centre, Rockhill Apartments in Montreal and the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Sylvain Ménard has built a number of housing projects west of Montreal.
“But in the past years (Ménard’s) been looking at all the action that’s been happening in Montreal and he wanted to be part of it,” says Michel Guilbault, vice-president of development of Consortium QMD-Ménard.
Extensive development around Bell Centre
Solstice Montreal adds to the condo developments in the Bell Centre area which already include the three Tour des Canadiens, L’Avenue, Roccabella, YUL and the upcoming Centracondos.
Solstice is being built on the site of a former Esso service station that has been decontaminated. Delivery is scheduled for late 2021 or early 2022.
Seventy-two per cent of the project has been sold, which is “quite a feat,” says sales director Patrick Moreau. Foreign buyers make up about 10 per cent of buyers, he says.
Prices for a one-bedroom start at about $400,000 and reach $1.5 million for a three-bedroom. Penthouses, which start on the 32nd floor, range from $1.8 to $3.5 million.
Solstice is being billed as a luxurious project with human-scale details. The goal was to create a project that relates to the street level and to the skyline of Montreal, Sternthal says.
Solstice tower shielded by podium
Developers are doing so by building a four-story lobby area in red brick that is typical of Montreal, with the tower set back. “As a pedestrian, when you’re walking, your view is four storeys,” he says.
The consortium is also creating a public pedestrian walkway that will link Canadiens de Montreal Avenue and Overdale Street, which is being rejuvenated by the YUL condo development. The walkway will include a snow melt system and an interactive sculpture.
“We said development is more than taking paradise and putting up a parking lot. It’s an art,” Sternthal says.
Taking a page from Place Ville Marie, the condo design has six corners instead of the usual four, which creates more views for buyers, he says.
Software in the sales office allows customers to see the exact views they’ll be getting, “which for us is key, because who wants calls after sales from unhappy people? That doesn’t get you anywhere in life,” Sternthal says.
Amenities include an indoor pool, Scandinavian type spa with thermal baths, exercise and yoga rooms, business centre, private wine cellars and tasting room, owners’ lounge. There will be five levels of underground parking and electric vehicle stations.
Balconies designed to shield wind
Under a deal with California-based furnishings company Restoration Hardware, buyers can choose from three furniture packages.
Units will have recessed balconies which will protect people from the wind, Sternthal says. “When you’re in a high-rise building there’s a lot of wind. Having balconies stick out is cheaper to do, but you can never use them.”
Guilbault says getting the project’s branding correct was important “because we’re a new group coming downtown. When you’re up to your 30th tower or 40th tower you think differently but on this it’s been a lot of energy. We put a lot of time into it because we want to be different.
“We’re going to set the tone for future projects.”