Prominent Montreal condo developer launches real estate investment fund

Prominent Montreal condo developer Devimco Immobilier is aiming to raise $100 million in equity in two years in its brand-new real estate investment fund.
Devimco Investment differs from most other real estate funds in that it will allow investors to participate financially in all stages of real estate development, from property assembly to completed projects, according to company president Serge Goulet.
The fund aims to combine the higher yields of venture capital investments with the safety of stable products.
Fellow Montreal condo developer Samcon Inc. had earlier launched two funds to buy land and cover initial costs of condo development. Canderel is also planning a fund that would fund acquisitions and developments in Toronto.
The creation of Devimco Investment comes after a reorganization for the 16-year-old company formerly known as Devimco Inc.
Devimco Immobilier was created after Goulet and former Devimco Inc. partner Jean-François Breton decided to create two separate entities specializing in their individual expertise.
Carbonleo focusing on retail development
Breton’s Carbonleo Real Estate is focusing on retail development and continues to work with Devimco Immobilier. Meanwhile, Goulet has teamed up with Devimco lawyer Mathieu Jobin as a new partner for Devimco Immobilier.
Devimco, along with Cogir Inc., is also building what it says is one of the largest new rental buildings in Montreal of the last 10 years. The $60-million, 13-storey LEED-certified building will rise in Griffintown, a once industrial area southwest of downtown Montreal.
The area is now undergoing a condo boom with several properties under Devimco’s District Griffin banner, which has been in development since 2005.

Griffintown District, the biggest condo project in Montreal
The Wellington Street rental building will feature 257 apartment units and will be next to a new 154-room ALT Hotel, which is also being developed by Devimco. The building will have one- to three-bedroom apartments and penthouses and rent for an average of $1,200 per month, including appliances, heating and Internet.
It’s slated for completion in early 2015 and will include such amenities as a car-sharing service and rooftop terrace with semi-Olympic sized swimming pool.
The rental project comes on the heels of recommendations by the City of Montreal’s public consultation office that the Griffintown area is being overbuilt by condos and lacks diversity, such as a lack of children.
According to an April report by the Office des consultations publiques, children will only comprise 2.5% of Griffintown residents, compared to an average of 15% on the island of Montreal.
Price influences families' choices
The report notes that price is the most important factor influencing families’ choices of neighbourhoods. However, the average price of $3,852 per square metre makes the price of District Griffin condos some of the most expensive in Montreal and out of the reach of most families.
The new rental building will comprise 15% social housing and 15% affordable housing, however, based on an agreement with the Sud-Ouest borough that encompasses Griffintown and Montreal’s Affordable Housing Inclusion Strategy.
“We want to contribute to more accessible housing and attract new families to Montreal,” Goulet says.
Devimco hopes to build a total of 1,000 rental units in the years to come, both in Griffintown and elsewhere in Montreal.
The three-bedroom apartment units, in particular, stand a chance at attracting families as they will be as large as 1,550 sq. ft.
Devimco is also banking on the low vacancy rates for rental units in Montreal: 2.8% according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.
District Griffin into Phase 4
As far as condos are concerned, Devimco is involved in the development of Phase 4 of District Griffin, an $850 million project it has dubbed “the biggest condo project in Montreal.”
Phase 4 includes 450 condo units in three towers, the largest of which will top 16 storeys, and will contain a grocery store and pharmacy.
Aside from Griffintown, Devimco is known for its role in the massive Quartier Dix 30 development on the South Shore of Montreal.
Located at the intersection of Highways 10 and 30 in Brossard, the 77-hectare site is home to big-box stores, boutiques, restaurants and bars.
Opened in 2006, with an aim to be the downtown of the South Shore, Dix30 has cost $825 million to build, is visited by more than 15 million people a year and has annual sales of $800 million.
Devimco and Carbonlea continue to work together on the development of Quartier Dix 30.
Overall, District Griffin, being built in several phases near the Lachine Canal and streets like Peel and Wellington, is helping to “dramatically transform” what was a partially
abandoned industrial area “by creating a pleasant, safe place to live, work and play,
just steps from downtown,” Goulet says.
Goulet says Devimco is now focusing on mixed-use projects. The initial phases of District Griffin include 2,103 condominium units, about 75,000 square feet of office space, more than 328,000 square feet of commercial space as well as the new rental development and ALT hotel.

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