The Cavendish Development: Largest urban renewal project in Montreal

On Montreal Island in the Borough of Cote St-Luc, 15 minutes drive from the central business district, is a development opportunity that rarely emerges in modern Canadian cities. A 35 acre property (approx.1,500,000 square feet) located in the midst of a wealthy residential neighbourhood is available for redevelopment. The Cavendish Development project, planned for a site currently occupied by the Cavendish Shopping Centre, is the largest urban renewal project in Montreal (click here for Map Quest of the site).

The owners, a Montreal family who have owned the property for 30 plus years, have engaged an advisory team let by Ramsay Lunan, Senior Vice-President of Investment with CB Richard Ellis to manage a competitive selection process through the use of a limited Request For Proposal (RFP) tender. As a first step in the development process, the team including architectural firm Desmarais, Cousineau, Yaghjian, St-Jean, Marchand and planning consultant Brian Fahey along with city officials have devised an example Master Plan for the entire site.

The Master Plan calls for a mixed retail, commercial and residential development with a buildable space of over 2.8 million square feet. The plan calls for approximately 2,770 residential units and 150,000 square feet of rentable retail, office, and commercial space. Although proceeding with the redevelopment will require rezoning, local services are available to support the proposed plan.

In the fall of 2005, CB Richard Ellis issued an initial RFP for the Cavendish Development intended to identify a short list of companies qualified to develop the entire site or portions of the property. By the RFP deadline in December 2005 up to 12 responses had been received from Canadian, U.S., European and Australian interests as well as requests for additional time to prepare a submission. In order to consider all interested parties the RFP deadline has been extended to February 7, 2006.

The site is situated in a primarily residential neighborhood, featuring high-rise concrete condominium and apartment towers, medium and low-rise wood and brick apartment buildings, as well as spacious single-family townhouses. It is a wealthy community where the average income is 25% higher than the Montreal average. Facing the property is the City Hall of Côte St-Luc, and behind the property are educational and medical facilities.

Canadian Pacific railway lines that wrap around two sides of the Cote St-Luc community isolate the neighbourhood from downtown traffic and block direct access by growing communities to the north. The nestling effect of the railways has created a 'tight-knit community with a strong social spirit" but prevented rigorous commercial expansion according to marketing material about the site.

The Cavendish shopping centre is 400,000 square feet and topped by a 60,000 square foot office building. It also has 2,000 couvered parking spaces. The shopping centre suffered two large setbacks in the 1990’s, first Eaton’s bankruptcy followed by Canadian Tire closing their store due to increased competition from a new Walmart. Despite these setbacks the mall's tenants include IGA, Pharmaprix (Shoppers Drug Mart), Bureaux en Gros (Staples), Cineplex Odeon, Caplan Duval, SAQ and TD Canada Trust. The major office tenant is the CSSS René-Cassin, the regional provincial health care clinic for Côte St-Luc.

The most recent new retail development in mid-market Montreal is Marché Central located 4-5 miles north of Cavendish Shopping Centre. According to CBRE site information, Marché Central it is now fully leased and new construction of the next phase of Marche Central is expected to be outpaced by demand. The retail market is expected to remain active. Vacancy rates are in gradual decline while supply of prime locations remains limited. The majority of tenants in the existing Cavendish Shopping Centre are expected to want to locate in the new project..

Ramsay Lunan of CBRE indicated the only recent comparative Montreal development is the much larger Bois-Franc project whose master plan was approved by the Borough of Saint-Laurent in 1992. In the case of Bois-Franc, Bombardier owned a 20 million square foot lot vacated by the Cartierville airport. The plan called for 8,000 housing units and was expected to take 10 years to complete. Incorporated into the site is Le Challenger golf course opened in June 2002 on the site of the former land strip.

For more information visit CBRE website Cavendish page or contact Ramsay Lunan, [email protected], (514) 849-7040

Ann launched RENX in 2001 as a part-time venture and has grown the publication to become a primary source of online news for the Canadian real estate industry. Prior to…

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Ann launched RENX in 2001 as a part-time venture and has grown the publication to become a primary source of online news for the Canadian real estate industry. Prior to…

Read more

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