The Vision Bridge-Bonaventure Consortium, which is comprised of many of Montreal’s largest development industry movers and shakers, has unveiled an updated vision for a massive development in the city’s Bridge-Bonaventure / Pointe-de-Moulin sector.
Their plans for the 2.3-square-kilometre district now include over 9,500 housing units (2,000 more than envisioned when the initial plan was made public about three years ago), over 495,000 square feet of “job-creation” space and provisions for artistic uses and public space.
The district straddles the boroughs of Sud-Ouest and Ville-Marie along the St. Lawrence River. It is at the southern entrance to the downtown core via the Bonaventure Expressway and the Victoria Bridge and historically has been mainly an industrial area.
"We want to create an extraordinary area, a new way of life of which Montrealers will be proud, an inspiring and exemplary 15-minute district that will become a benchmark for the world," Pierre Jacques Lefaivre, senior vice-president of Groupe Mach, said in Tuesday’s announcement.
"We're committed to meeting the challenge of ecological transition and tackling the changes of the day: climate change, housing shortages and telecommuting."
While updated financial estimates haven't been disclosed, the project was estimated at about $2.5 billion when it was first unveiled by Devimco.
Seeking quick approvals for Vision Bridge-Bonaventure
Consortium members have also asked the City of Montreal to “choose the most efficient regulatory approval process possible” to fast-track the development.
Its members have been planning and consulting with municipal authorities and the public on the project for more than four years thus far.
To this end, they focused on the growing need for housing in Greater Montreal.
"In a context of the housing crisis, urban sprawl and the climate crisis, this rare opportunity for densification in the heart of the metropolis must be seized," Brian Fahey, president of the urban planning firm Fahey & Associés, said in the announcement.
Lefaivre and Fahey acted as spokesmen for the consortium during the unveiling of the updated plans on Tuesday.
The consortium's revised plans focus on mixed-use residential development on the Pointe-du-Moulin sub-sectors, the Wellington Basin area, the Ray-Mont Logistics site, the eastern portion of the Saint-Patrick triangle and the Lachine Canal banks.
Development of economic activities is focused in the Pointe-Saint-Charles employment sector, west of Bridge Street, the bridge commercial sector, the artisans sector and the ADM flour mill.
A key element of this area would be the creation of what the consortium refers to as an innovation hub, including research and development industries in the clean technology sector.
Social, affordable housing components
While few specific details were released, the residential portion will include both rental housing and condos, as well as affordable and social housing. The consortium says it will exceed the City of Montreal's 20 per cent target for social, family and affordable housing.
Conceptual drawings show mid- and high-rise towers flanking the canal, as well as between the former flour mill and Mill Street. Community uses front onto Mill Street and a portion of Bridge Street.
The development provides for creation of a civic hub which could include a public school and/or other community, cultural and sports components.
The site offers access to a range of active and public transport options, and the development calls for both a new REM station at the site and the redevelopment of Bridge Street.
The group also pledges to include sustainability elements, including a solar power component for some of the buildings, though no specifics have been announced.
The Vision Bridge-Bonaventure plans call for building heights of 80 metres to 120 metres in the northern triangle of Pointe-Saint-Charles, the canal banks, the area around the Wellington Basin and Pointe-du-Moulin. This would allow for towers of up to about 40 storeys.
It would also allow the developers to achieve the densities they are proposing, while “freeing up more space for parks, riverside paths and community and cultural facilities, as well as to finance the development of more generous green spaces” the announcement states.