Gestion Georges Coulombe and France Film plan to build a 180- to 200-room hotel in Montreal’s Olympic Park, steps away from the Olympic Stadium and several other city attractions.
“There is a lack of hotel rooms in the east of Montreal,” Alain Milette, director of development and projects at Gestion Georges Coulombe, told RENX. “The hotel will respond to this.”
According to a study by the developers, of the 19,000 hotel rooms on the island of Montreal only 500 are situated east of Papineau Street or the Jacques Cartier Bridge. In the past 15 years, no new hotel rooms have been added east of Papineau.
In addition, the Olympic Park houses a wide variety of tourism and recreation activities. Having a hotel in the Olympic Park would enable tourists to spend a few days at the site rather than a few hours, he said.
Many of the five million annual visitors to Olympic Park and the nature museums of the nearby Espace pour la Vie (Space for Life) - Botanical Gardens, Biodome, Insectarium, Planetarium – come from abroad and would be more likely to book a hotel on the site, he said.
Hotel to replace StarCité complex
The seven-storey hotel would replace the 17-cinema StarCité complex which has been at 4825 Pierre-De Coubertin Ave. in the south-east corner of the Olympic Park since 2000. France Film has owned the site, the only private piece of land in Olympic Park, since 2015.
Plans call for six movie theatres to remain, some of which could become multi-functional rooms.
Milette says the 170,000-square-foot hotel will include a multi-use room that will accommodate 1,000 people and a conference centre as there are no conference facilities in the area.
The cost for the project has not been finalized and the developers are in the process of obtaining financing. A hotel operator has not been named.
If all goes well, construction will begin in 2025.
The development would require zoning changes. It has received preliminary approvals and Milette is hopeful the final approval could come by next spring. He notes the Mercier-Hochelaga Maisonneuve borough is in favour of the project.
Design to complement Olympic Park heritage
“We won’t build a 20-storey tower and we’re respecting the buildings that are in the Olympic Park,” Milette said.
The hotel, designed by architectural firm Provencher Roy, has a semi-circular shape that marries well with the curves of the Olympic Stadium. he said.
The hotel will also likely contain two restaurants and an urban spa. It would not have amenities such as a pool or exercise facilities as these services are already available in the Olympic Park.
Under the current plans, an exterior parking lot for the cinemas will be transformed into a large public park with a fountain and trees.
Milette said the hotel will not have parking, but arrangements will be made to provide parking at the nearby underused Olympic Park underground parking lot, which has about 4,700 parking spaces.
The hotel would be steps away from the Viau Métro station, which is about a 15-minute subway ride from downtown.
Gestion Georges Coulombe, France Film
Gestion Georges Coulombe has another hotel, the 51-room Stonehaven Le Manoir in Ste. Agathe in the Laurentians.
It’s housed in a 115-year-old manor that was renovated and expanded and is part of the Relais & Châteaux network of luxury hotels.
Founded in 1982, Gestion Georges Coulombe owns about 30 buildings with 1.3 million square feet of rental space.
The company has bought and restored several heritage buildings in Old Montreal.
These include the 22-storey 360 Saint-Jacques St., the former headquarters of the Royal Bank, the former Molson’s bank at 288 Saint-Jacques and the over-200,000 square foot Insurance Exchange Building at 276 Saint-Jacques, which was considered one of the largest commercial buildings in Canada when it was completed in 1924.
Near the Olympic Stadium, the company owns the former American Can Co. plant at 2030 Pie-IX, a 300,000-square-foot building.
Gestion Georges Coulombe has also teamed up with France Film to develop Espace Saint-Denis at the site of the historic Théâtre Saint-Denis on Saint-Denis Street near de Maisonneuve Boulevard in the city’s Latin Quarter.
The development includes the Tour France Film, completed last year, a mid-rise office building that includes the France Film head office.