Devimco, Groupe Cholette and the Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ announced highlights of Phases II and III of the District Griffin project, representing an investment of $261 million. This is in addition to the $475-million investment announced last year for development of Phase I.
“The largest multi-use real estate project in Montreal, which will incorporate residential, commercial, community and business functions on the same site, will transform much of Griffintown for the better,” Devimco president Serge Goulet said at a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction on the first of four blocks that constitute Phase I. He was accompanied by Richard Deschamps, Vice-Chair of the City of Montreal Executive Committee and member responsible for economic development and major projects. Also present were Michel Cholette, President of Groupe Cholette, Normand Bélanger, President and CEO of the Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ, and Jean-Yves Germain, Co-President of Groupe Germain.
When completed, the first three phases of District Griffin will encompass 2,103 condominium units, including 331 affordable housing units. The project will also include a 154-room ALT Hotel, more than 299,000 square feet of office space and over 328,000 square feet of commercial space. Moreover, 275 social housing units will be built in conjunction with Phase I.
“Ultimately, District Griffin will not only help produce a housing project that will restructure the area but will also to help create and maintain 3,235 jobs, in line with our mission of economic development in Quebec,” Bélanger said, adding: “Our investment and our partnership with two prominent developers in producing the overall District Griffin project are strategic and very stimulating. Indeed, with this project, the Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ is involved in revitalizing a former industrial zone, creating a modern and dynamic environment for urban living that will serve a broad clientele.”
“We are keeping our promise to create a whole new living environment. It will be a pleasant and safe area, making it possible to live, work and play close to downtown and Old Montreal in what will be an important gateway to Montreal,” said Goulet.
He added that negotiations with the City and Sud-Ouest Borough for a development agreement covering Phases II and III will begin in a few days. For Phase I, the City of Montreal and Devimco have signed a development agreement providing for the creation of parks and public squares, as well as for infrastructure rehabilitation. The City will invest $29.9 million.
“What is happening in Griffintown reflects what is going on today across Montreal,” said Richard Deschamps, Vice-Chairman of the City of Montreal Executive Committee and member responsible for economic development and major projects. “The city is in fact experiencing a true real estate boom. As of this past March, Montreal had 162 construction sites exceeding $5 million in value. These projects accounted for investments totaling $13.4 billion. In early August, the Montreal skyline had 54 cranes in operation. This sort of thing has not been seen since the time of Expo 67 and the 1976 Olympic Games.”
The three first phases and their components
Phase I of District Griffin will consist of four city blocks bound by Wellington Street on the north, Shannon Street on the east, the Lachine Canal on the west, and Smith Street on the south, alongside a railway viaduct. The first block, bound by Wellington, Peel, Young and Smith streets, will include a tower with 188 condominium units, 78 per cent of which have already been sold, as well as the hotel, shops, restaurants and more than 75,000 square feet of office space. Work began a few weeks ago and is to be completed in July 2013.
“The opening of an ALT Hotel in District Griffin not only fits in with the company’s strategic plan to open 10 ALT hotels across the country within five years but also provides a special character, putting it in the heart of a real estate development that will literally transform the face of a fast-growing Montreal neighbourhood,” said Germain.
“Each phase of District Griffin will provide additional residential products ranging from luxury units to condos for young couples and self-employed people,” Cholette said. Turning his attention to Phase II, he said its purpose will be primarily residential. “Following the success of the sale of units in the first block of Phase I, we decided to begin the pre-sale of the first round of Phase II, which will contain 121 units. Construction will begin in November.”
Called “St. Ann,” Phase II will have five towers with a maximum height of 44 metres in the block bound by Basin Street on the south, du Séminaire Street on the west, Ottawa Street on the north and Rioux Street on the east. The occupants of the 768 planned residential units will be living near Griffintown, St. Ann and Basin Parks.
Phase III will consist of a tower with 277 residential units and office spaces covering an area of 117 000 square feet, along with commercial space on the first two floors. It will be located on Peel Street north of Wellington Street. Construction will begin in the spring of 2012.