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Maître Carré JV plans $135M Montreal hospital redevelopment

An artist's rendering of the redevelopment of the Montreal Grace Dart Hospital site. (Courtesy Maître Carré)
An artist's rendering of the redevelopment of the Montreal Grace Dart Hospital site. (Courtesy Maître Carré)

Developers Maître Carré and TGTA are teaming up with Fiera Real Estate and Fondaction on a $135-million redevelopment project that will see the former Grace Dart Hospital in Montreal’s east end become part of a 299-unit rental housing development.

The project at 6085 Sherbrooke St. E. in the Mercier-Hochelage-Maisonneuve borough is slated for completion in March 2025. It marks the first time Maître Carré and TGTA have worked together as co-developers.

Most of Grace Dart Hospital, which is considered of heritage interest, will be preserved and there will be 36 housing units in the building. The remainder of the units will be housed in a new six-storey structure behind the hospital.

Founded by Montreal pharmacist Henry J. Dart, Grace Dart Hospital opened in 1907 and was named in honour of Dart’s daughter Grace, who had died nine years earlier. It closed in 2016 and was subsequently designated a heritage property by the City of Montreal.

“The hospital will be 90 per cent preserved. We’re only getting rid of mechanical rooms and the back of the building,” Étienne Payette Lebeau, director, marketing and rentals at Maître Carré, told RENX. 

Three-year approval process for redevelopment

While the interior was modified over the years and lost much of its historical appeal, the developers discovered features such as metal beams and brick walls after drywall was removed which they will try to preserve.

The project took three years to be approved by the city with COVID-19 to blame for some of the delays. The fact the hospital was Quebec government-owned added to the delays.

In addition to the consultations required by the city, the developers consulted with citizens groups and key stakeholders before launching the project.

Based on current rates, rents will likely start at about $1,250 per month, including utilities, appliances, Internet and drapes. The rental office for the yet-to-be-named development will likely open next March.

More than 40 per cent of units will have at least two bedrooms.

Large apartments with two or three bedrooms will be located on the ground floor to accommodate families “so that they can play outside,” Payette Lebeau said. “It’s a great outdoor space that’s rare to find on the island.”

Features and amenities

The development includes a large amount of green spaces and mature trees that will not be fenced in and will be open to the public. A neighbourhood café or restaurant is also slated for the development.

Although the development may be most attractive to people aged 50 to 75, the intention is to have tenants aged 18 to 98.

“We really want to attract everyone (to allow) exchanges between generations.” The “dream situation” would be to have grandparents living in one unit and their children and grandchildren living nearby.

Amenities in the development will include a rooftop pool, gym, yoga room, wellness centre, sauna and co-working spaces. 

There will be one underground parking spot for every two units. Twenty-five per cent of parking spaces will be allocated for electric cars and additional parking spaces can be adapted if the demand is there. 

Several energy-saving features will be added, and the development will be 25 per cent more energy efficient than current norms require, Payette Lebeau said.

The developers are transferring a portion of the land at Du Quesne and Sherbrooke Streets to the City of Montreal for social housing. It is not known when that component might be built.

"Located two minutes from the Cadillac Metro station, the project is an excellent example of responsible development, given its proximity a few minutes walk from services and public transport," Jean-Philippe Dubé, senior vice-president and fund manager, development at Fiera Real Estate, said in a news release.

“The project contributes to urban densification while taking into account the needs of the district,” Marc-André Binette, deputy chief investment officer at Fondaction, added in the release. 

About the development partners

Founded in 2009, Maître Carré has developed several multiresidential and mixed projects in the Montreal area, including the 216-unit Mellem housing project in the Ville-Marie borough and the Brickfields office development in Griffintown.

TGTA has been developing and investing in real estate in Montreal since 1989, primarily in residential and office, but also in industrial, commercial, seniors’ residences and hotels.

Fiera Real Estate has $8 billion in real estate assets under management worldwide.

Fondaction is a labour-sponsored fund created in 1996 that concentrates on “sustainable finance” in the province and manages $3.25 billion in net assets.

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