Prével hopes to announce its project plans by the end of the year for one of the largest sites still available for development in Montreal’s downtown area, says co-president Laurence Vincent.
The company recently obtained a vacant site of almost 400,000 square feet near the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, between René-Lévesque Boulevard, Ste. Catherine Street, Parthenais Street and De Lorimier Avenue. It’s also close to the Papineau Métro station and Gay Village.
Prével acquired the site from Bertone for an undisclosed amount.
In 2016, Bertone proposed a $500-million mixed-use project called Quais De Lorimier on the property. It was to include residential buildings and townhouses, office space, a hotel and a public and entertainment space but Bertone was unable to get the development off the ground.
“Making progress” on mixed-use plan
“We’re not ready to unveil anything, but we’re making progress,” says Vincent, noting Prével is in the planning process with the downtown borough of Ville Marie and the City of Montreal.
“The vision is for a very, very mixed-use project,” that will include condos, rental apartments, social housing, offices, stores and a large amount of green space and parks.
Formerly an industrial site, the land has been vacant for decades. Last summer, the site hosted Cavalia Odysseo, a show featuring 70 horses that took place in what was touted as the world’s largest touring tent.
Vincent says planned developments nearby at the CBC/Radio-Canada headquarters, Maison de Radio-Canada, and at the Molson Brewery plant will be beneficial to the Prével project.
CBC/Radio-Canada is building a new, smaller headquarters next to its current building, leaving its former office tower and parking lot available for a planned 4.5 million-square-foot development by Groupe Mach called Quartier des Lumières. Molson will be vacating its east-end Montreal plant for a new facility on the South Shore.
The company points to its experience in the Griffintown neighbourhood, where the Lowney sur Ville development led to the transformation of the once-neglected industrial area into a residential hub. Vincent said is it easier to redevelop an area when there are several players involved, than when you are the sole developer.
It’s easier “to make the neighbourhood known and to revitalize it,” she says of the site near the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, “because it’s a neighbourhood that needs more residents to make it lively and to bring in more economic vitality. Projects at the Molson and Radio-Canada sites “will be advantageous for the whole neighbourhood and for the development of the project.”
The Griffintown area south of downtown Montreal has been criticized for lacking in schools, green spaces and housing for families but that situation should change, Vincent says.
“In an ideal world, everything would have been foreseen,” she says. “We would have seen the potential for development coming and would have put aside parks, schools, public transit. But, that’s not how it happened.”
Vincent says the city was taken by surprise by the speed of development, and it is now more complicated to bring in things like schools than if they had been planned years earlier.
Still, “in 10 years, I think the neighbourhood will have found its balance,” she says. “It’s not a perfect neighbourhood, but it’s a lively neighbourhood and in 10 or 15 years, we’ll find it’s a neighbourhood that works very well like many others in Montreal.”
About Prével and its other projects
Prével is a family business founded in 1978 that has more than 100 employees. The company has built more than 11,000 housing units and says it is Montreal’s largest residential real estate developer.
The company is currently working on a number of projects in Montreal. They include:
* Phase II of Union sur le Parc, consisting of 166 condos in a 20-storey building in the downtown Shaughnessy Village neighbourhood, which will be delivered in summer 2020. “It sold very quickly,” she says.
* The fifth phase of 21e arrondissement which will be delivered in 2020. The condo development between Griffintown and Old Montreal includes five towers of nine to 15 floors.
* Appartements-Boutiques, a rental apartment development in Old Montreal owned by Prével, which is about 90 per cent leased.
“We have several projects in the pipeline,” Vincent says, including one that is about to be announced and several on the drawing board.
“The fundamentals of the Montreal economy are very positive and it’s not short-lived,” she says. “We think Montreal is in a good place. Even if the economy isn’t as strong in coming years, we’re confident that real estate will continue to do well.”