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'New' Cominar launches Mostra Centropolis, its first development

Former Montreal-based REIT is now private, JVs with Cogir and Divco

The Mostra Centropolis development in Montreal. (Courtesy Cominar)
The Mostra Centropolis development in Laval. (Courtesy Cominar)

Cominar has launched its first new real estate project since the former REIT was sold and privatized earlier this year.

“As part of the new Cominar, it is the opening statement for many new projects in the future,” said Julie Lafrenière, vice-president, development at Cominar.

Mostra Centropolis, a 363-unit rental apartment development comprised of two 12- and 15-storey towers, will be built in the Centropolis retail, food, entertainment and office complex in Laval, which is owned by Cominar.

“Mostra Centropolis is an opening statement for many more attractive living environments to come as part of our development portfolio over the next few years,” she said.

Cominar has a 50 per cent share in the development, in partnership with investors Cogir, which will manage the property, and Divco, which will build it. Lafrenière would not divulge the cost.

Breaking up the former Cominar REIT

Cominar REIT was sold to a Canderel Group-led consortium in a deal with an enterprise value of $5.7 billion. 

In connection with the transaction, Groupe Mach acquired 42 of Cominar's retail and office properties for about $1.5 billion and Pure Industrial acquired Cominar's industrial portfolio.

Prior to the transaction, Cominar REIT had 310 office, retail and industrial properties in Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa, and was one of the country’s largest diversified REITs.

In March, Cominar became a private company owned by a consortium that includes Canderel, FrontFour Capital Group, Artis Real Estate Investment Trust and limited-partnership companies managed by Sandpiper Group and Koch Real Estate Investments.

Cominar now consists of 73 properties with 12.5 million square feet of leasable space – 49 office properties with 6.8 million square feet and 24 retail properties with 5.7 million square feet.

Some of its major assets include the Alexis Nihon retail and office complex, Rockland Centre and Complexe de la Gare Centrale in Montreal, Quartier Laval in Laval, Champlain Mall in Brossard and Ilot Mendel in Quebec City.

Cominar's current activities

Lafrenière, who has been with Cominar since 2020, said the company is “currently working on other projects that are at a more preliminary stage” than Mostra Centropolis.

The company is looking into mixed-use developments with “significant residential components.”

Cominar is also completing projects that began under the Cominar REIT platform and redevelopment projects as leases expire.

“We’re very much talking about redevelopments of some of our properties to keep up with the market and remain a leader in the marketplace,” she said.

“From a portfolio standpoint and development portfolio standpoint, we’re really looking into getting the most and the best out of each site.”

To be built on a lot of more than 160,000 square feet on Daniel-Johnson Boulevard in Laval, Mostra Centropolis is scheduled to be completed in 2024. Leasing is expected to begin next spring.

Lafrenière said the project will be competitively priced and should attract a large rental base “considering the pressing needs in terms of housing.”

Some Mostra Centropolis features

It will contain a “massive” amount of green spaces, to the tune of more than 40,000 square feet, aimed at reduced heat islands, providing gathering spaces and facilitating walkability from the project to the shopping centre.

There will be commercial spaces on the ground floor of the two buildings that will complement the offerings already available at Centropolis, Lafrenière said.

Other amenities in Mostra Centropolis include a gym, indoor pool, community kitchen, children's play areas, an urban chalet, rooftop terrace and co-working spaces.

Many of the units – ranging in size from studios, to one- to three-bedrooms, will be of sufficient size to allow people to work comfortably from home, she added.

Cogir Real Estate manages over 345 properties throughout Canada and the U.S., overseeing five million square feet of commercial property and 40,000 housing units, including more than 110 privately owned seniors' residences. 

Divco has built more than 50 million square feet of new construction and large-scale renovation projects, covering industrial, commercial, institutional, hotel, retail and multiresidential buildings. 

In May, Mario D. Morroni was named president and CEO of Cominar.

Morroni previously held various roles at Ivanhoé Cambridge from 2014 to 2022, including executive vice-president, strategy and capital allocation

Morroni also created and developed Ivanhoé Cambridge’s industrial business unit for North America, a key element of the company’s growth, and was on its board of directors between 2010 and 2014.




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