Omnia means “prepared for all things” in Latin, so it’s appropriate 35-year-old construction management firm Omnia Technologies has added real estate development to its list of specialties. The builder has kicked off its first project in downtown Montreal as a developer, the 23-storey Enticy condo tower.
More than 70 per cent of the 180 units have been sold in the building on René-Lévesque Boulevard and Mackay Street. It’s slated for delivery in summer 2021.
Becoming a developer “was a natural for us,” says Jean-François Beaulieu, president of the Mirabel, Que.-based Omnia Technologies. As a builder, “we’ve done several billion dollars worth of projects” for other developers.
These include printing plants in the Toronto area and in Mirabel, office towers like the FTQ Complex in Montreal and condo developments like Ma Condos in the Montreal suburb of Mount Royal.
Omnia has built more than 2,000 residential units, industrial projects worth as much as $110 million and office developments of up to 550,000 square feet.
“We’ve accompanied many developers in their projects,” Beaulieu says. “We did much more than construction. We helped developers with their sales offices and buyer relations. We just hadn’t done it on our own.”
Omnia founded in 1985
Omnia was founded in 1985 by Beaulieu and his father. After his father’s death in 1996, Beaulieu became president and sole owner at the age of 28.
After developing a 60-unit project on Papineau Street and a 20-unit condo project on Ontario Street in Montreal over the last few years, Omnia is now moving forward with its much bigger development plans in the city.
Beaulieu told RENX Omnia will also develop what will likely be a 260-unit condo project on Basin Street in Griffintown and a 23-storey condo next to the Imperial Theatre on De Bleury Street in downtown Montreal.
It also has land for development on Ste. Catherine Street in downtown Montreal.
“We have land all over. We have seven or eight projects in development.”
The company will put its focus on residential development because “there’s a very high demand for condos and rental apartments” in Montreal. “It’s what clients want.”
He thought there would be a slowdown this year in residential development, but demand is still strong.
Omnia also continues to build projects for other developers. Among others, it’s building the 55-unit Snowdon Theatre condo development on Décarie Boulevard as well as Centra Condos Mackay, near the Enticy development.
Claridge a partner in Enticy project
At Enticy, Omnia has teamed up with Claridge Investment as the financial partner. Claridge, which represents the interests of the Stephen Bronfman family, will also partner with Omnia in the upcoming Griffintown condo development.
Omnia has had a long relationship as a builder and consultant for Claridge, Beaulieu says. “It’s a natural partnership. There’s a lot of affinity between our two companies.”
Enticy – a combination of the words entice and city – is being built as a boutique condo with fewer amenities than other projects and reduced condo fees as a result. “It’s made for people who live in the city, not necessarily in their condo tower,” Beaulieu says.
Owners will pay condo fees of 30 cents per square foot, about half the cost of other projects.
“The rapid sales prove there is a need for this,” he says.
Condo features include floor-to-ceiling windows and five appliances in the units. Amenities include a heated rooftop pool, fitness centre and a co-working space.
Developers are maintaining the facades of late-19th-century buildings on René-Lévesque Boulevard.
Wide range of purchasers
David Sansfaçon, sales manager of Investissements Odevco, the development arm of Omnia, says having 30 per cent of units available at the start of construction “is exactly the number we want to be at. We’ll have plenty of time to find buyers for the rest.”
He says purchasers include investors, people who will house their children attending nearby McGill and Concordia Universities and LaSalle College, lawyers and bankers looking for a pied-à-terre, and foreign buyers, some of whom are in the process of becoming Canadian residents.
While it will be possible for owners to rent out their units for less than a year, “people can’t rent every weekend to somebody different,” Sansfaçon says. “We want to complicate things for people who would try to go Airbnb against the regulations.”
Prices start at $315,950 for a studio, $347,950 for a one-bedroom and $454,950 for a two-bedroom plus taxes. There are also four townhouse units.
“We have a project that’s slightly smaller in scale than some of the other projects,” he says. “Anything that helps keep the purchasing price a little bit under our competitors.”