Montreal Parking Lot Sale Rides On Coat Tails of Bell Centre Development

A Montreal development site that permits a 50-story condo, hotel, office or mixed-use building located across the street from the Bell Centre on Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal went on sale this week.

The Bell Centre, home to the Montreal Canadiens, is the busiest hockey arena in Canada. Immediately adjacent to the arena is Windsor Station that houses the Lucien-L’Allier Metro Station. It is across the street from the 1250 René-Lévesque skyscraper, linked to the Bonaventure metro station and connected to the 32-kilometer underground pathway RESO considered to be the longest in the World.

The listing of this property follows on the coat tails of news from April 2011 that Cadillac Fairview intends to build two condo towers (700 units – 40-story buildings) and an office tower (27 floors) above the Bell Centre and adjacent Windsor Station. The first of the Cadillac Fairview buildings are to be completed in 2014.

The listed property is being marketed as ‘an exceptional opportunity’ for condo developers from Toronto and Vancouver who want to enter the fledgling Montreal market. In comparison to Canada’s other two major cities condominiums are just gaining traction in Montreal. International purchasers who recognize the unique features of the location for mixed-use projects are also prospective buyers.

“The condo market is less mature in Montreal. It started about ten years ago and there is still no density in the suburbs” said Brett Miller who along with Brian Kerr at CBRE is marketing the property for a local family.

“The site offers access to Montreal’s vibrant nightlife, abundant retail locations and a commute free alternative for empty nesters,” said Miller.

A downtown condo in Montreal is also seen as a way of avoiding what is widely expected to be unprecedented traffic gridlock due to infrastructure construction projects. A major interchange and two bridges, all of which are major access routes to the downtown, are slated for a rebuild over the next five to ten years.

Compared to Toronto and Calgary where building heights are virtually unrestricted in sections of those cities, no building in downtown Montreal can exceed the height of Mount Royal, 233 metres (764 ft.) above mean sea level. As the land elevation rises near the mountain the height of buildings is reduced plus further regulation limits heights to less than 120 meters in many parts of the City.

Buildings constructed in the lowest parts of the downtown, such as the area around the Bell Centre and near Tour de la Bourse, can achieve the maximum building heights at around 210 metres.

A condo built on the 31,800 square foot parking lot that is for sale, at 50-story building and 210 meters, would have a dramatic view of the Lachine canal as well as being higher than the tallest proposed condo, Altoria at 35 stories, and the 4 tallest Montreal office buildings:

Le 1000 rue de la Gauchetière – 205 m. – 51 stories
Le 1250 Boulevard Rene-Levesque – 199 m. – 47 stories
Tour de la Bourse – 190 m. – 47 stories
La Tour de CIBC – 187 m. – 45 stories

Referring to the 75-story Aura condo under construction in Toronto at the corner of College St. and Gerrard St. Miller said, “We won’t see those kinds of heights in Montreal as the City is committed to maintaining the signature of the mountain on the downtown core. The municipality is pursuing densification by encouraging construction on parking lots.”

As the condo market grows in Montreal how will height restrictions and demand for sites impact the cost of land? Will tall building constructions gain a foothold in Montreal suburbs as a way of satisfying urban intensification policies and a burgeoning interest in condo ownership?

For more information about the property read the CBRE News Release, September 1, 2011.

Paul is a writer, editor and media trainer based in Toronto with over 25 years of experience as a business reporter. He has written for Canada’s major news services on…

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Paul is a writer, editor and media trainer based in Toronto with over 25 years of experience as a business reporter. He has written for Canada’s major news services on…

Read more

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