Kevric Real Estate’s private project in Montreal to remake 280 Faillon into an indoor train station can be viewed as part of a larger push by developers to transform an industrial area of the city into a lower-cost office and condo destination.
Montreal-based Kevric held a press conference at the site last month to show off its plans for the indoor station which will replace the Parc station that is currently made up of a series of unheated waiting areas.
Kevric notes an upgrade is long overdue: the station is one of the busiest along the rail line in the Blainville and St-Jerome direction and usage has increased by 12 per cent in 2013 alone. The new station will boast features such as a coffee shop with related services, restrooms and a waiting room.
It doesn’t hurt that the new program is slated for “a rapidly developing neighbourhood where public transportation is not only essential but is also expected to increase over the next several years,” according to Kevric president Richard Hylands. “The building identified for the Parc Train Station is ideal for this use and is adjacent to the current AMT platform.”
Mile Ex upswing
It is more than civic-mindedness driving Kevric. The real estate company is currently converting a two-storey 80,000-square-foot industrial building into a 350,000-square-foot, eight-storey office building adjacent to the proposed Parc Station development at 280 Faillon.
Hylands said the office building “is well underway” but that the company’s Parc Train Station, which he described as “just a feature,” still awaits official go-aheads. “There are still some approvals left to get on that so hopefully in the summer time,” he said of the station that would serve its building and the surrounding area.
The Montreal Gazette has followed the transformation of the Montreal suburb, dubbed Mile Ex, from a largely industrial neighbourhood into an office and condo hub.
Blue-chip employers are attracted to the area as it is accessible for workers using the Parc Métro and rents are lower than in Montreal’s downtown, the newspaper noted.
The Gazette reported recently that the Royal Bank of Canada plans to relocate about 2,000 of its Montreal employees next year into a 190,000-sq.-ft. space at a recently-renovated building at the corner of Jean Talon Street and Parc Avenue.
Not to be outdone, the TD Bank is reported to be an anchor tenant at Kevric’s new building in Mile Ex and will occupy 100,000 square feet of the office tower at 280 Faillon.
Developers, who have also started to build condos in the area, like to compare the Mile Ex area to Toronto’s fast-growing Liberty Village.
Montreal downtown office vacancy rate rising
The building boom in Mile-Ex is good news for tenants. In a recent report, Cushman & Wakefield noted that Montreal’s central office market vacancy rate rose to 8.1% from 5.9% last year.
The real estate service firm forecasts that the 2014 vacancy rate will grow to 9.1% by the final quarter of 2014, and rise to 10.5% by 2015, mostly due to weak economic growth and the new supply being built.
Kevric is a player in that trend in the downtown core as well, currently constructing the 35-storey Tour Aimia building in Montreal’s core. The mixed-use building will feature 10 floors or approximately 230,000 square feet of office space and residential use on the top 25 floors.