Property Biz Canada

Ivanhoé caps $1B investment with Montreal Eaton Centre project


Ivanhoé Cambridge says it will invest $200 million to redevelop the downtown Montreal Eaton Centre, including merging it with the neighbouring Complexe Les Ailes shopping centre.

An artist's conception of the interior of the Montreal Eaton Centre after a $200-million development by Ivanhoé Cambridge.

An artist’s conception of the interior of the Montreal Eaton Centre after a $200-million development by Ivanhoé Cambridge. (Rendering courtesy Ivanhoé Cambridge)

In a release, Ivanhoé says the project “aims to enhance the shopping experience at Quebec’s busiest shopping centre on Sainte-Catherine Street, one of North America’s most well-known commercial streets.”

Between them, the Montreal Eaton Centre and Complexe Les Ailes attract more than 30 million visitors annually, the company says.

“Sainte-Catherine Street’s great strength is its ability to reinvent itself continually,” said Claude Sirois, president, retail at Ivanhoé Cambridge in a release. “Our demanding clientele wants an innovative and sustainable project that stands out for its urban character. With the physical changes we are making and the collaboration of our current and future retailers and brands, we are setting out to redefine the urban shopping experience downtown.”

The announcement also notes this is the final component in Project Nouveau Centre,  Ivanhoé Cambridge’s $1-billion investment at its four major properties in downtown Montreal. (see Ivanhoe Cambridge investing $1B in downtown Montreal)

Strengthen Montreal Eaton Centre brand

Unifying the two properties also means restoring the building’s original name, which Ivanhoé says will strengthen the Montreal Eaton Centre brand. 

When complete, the centre will provide a redefined and enhanced commercial offering, “that will exemplify the newest trends in retailing and the new means of consumption, including a gourmet food hall,” Ivanhoé says.

The reconfigured Montreal Eaton Centre will provide numerous new leasing opportunities, including for large-format retailers. The spaces will also benefit from direct access and increased visibility from four major arteries: Sainte-Catherine Street West, McGill College Avenue, Robert-Bourassa Boulevard and De Maisonneuve Boulevard West.

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The shopping centre, which already connects to Montreal’s underground city, will also benefit from the renovation of Sainte-Catherine Street West as well as from the future McGill light rail train station which is part of the Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) and the densification underway for several years in the area.

Montreal Eaton Centre, Complex Les Ailes

The Montreal Eaton Centre contains about 130 stores and restaurants.

Although the mall doesn’t rank among Canada’s top 30 in sales per square foot (as per Retail Council of Canada 2017 Canadian Shopping Centre Study), it is the fourth-busiest shopping centre in the country in terms of visitors, with an estimated 24,100,000 last year.

It has been owned by Ivanhoé Cambridge since 2000.

Currently, the 11-storey Complexe Les Ailes is a mixed-use building, with retail on its lower floors and office space above. The building was constructed in the early 1900s, and has been enlarged and renovated several times over the years.

It was purchased by Ivanhoé Cambridge in 1999 and underwent extensive renovations at that time.

On Tuesday, Ivanhoé Cambridge had announced it was investing an additional $60 million in Quebec City’s Laurier Québec shopping centre. That adds to $18 million it had already invested in the centre’s food court.

Projet Nouveau Centre

The redevelopment of the Montréal Eaton Centre is the final chapter of Projet Nouveau Centre, Ivanhoé Cambridge’s five-year plan to invest $1 billion in its flagship holdings in downtown Montreal:

* Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth (reopened in July 2017);
* Maison Manuvie (inaugurated on Nov. 27, 2017, see Ivanhoé, Manulife unveil $220M Maison Manuvie);
* Place Ville Marie (in progress from 2018 to 2019);
* Montreal Eaton Centre (ongoing until 2020).

About Ivanhoé Cambridge

Ivanhoé Cambridge is a global real estate industry leader, investing in high-quality properties and real estate companies in select cities around the world. Founded in Quebec in 1953, Ivanhoé Cambridge has built a vertically integrated business across Canada. Internationally, the company invests alongside key partners and major real estate funds. 

Through subsidiaries and partnerships, Ivanhoé Cambridge holds interests in nearly 800 buildings, primarily in the residential, office, retail and logistics real estate sectors. Ivanhoé Cambridge held approximately $56 billion in assets as at Dec. 31, 2016.

The company is a real estate subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers.

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Don Wilcox

About the Author ()

Don is a veteran editor and journalist with three decades of experience in print and online news, including 20 years at the Ottawa Sun. Most recently, he was the Sun’s Sr. Online Editor. Don has also been a part-time professor at Algonquin College, teaching digital writing and social media in the Mobile and Social Media Management program.

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