A showdown looms between two heavyweights of the properties in Montreal and the outcome could change the face of downtown. A zoning issue is the source of the disagreement.
In the right corner, with its 28 billion dollars in assets, is Cadillac Fairview. This real estate subsidiary of the pension fund Ontario Teachers (Teachers) is well known for its fashion centers, including Carrefour Laval.
In the left corner, weighing 42 billion, Ivanhoe Cambridge, which is the real estate subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.
The arena is the public consultation on the special planning project (SPP) for the stations area. This area is bounded by René-Lévesque Boulevard, north, Notre Dame, south, University / Robert-Bourassa east, and Lucien L’Allier and the Mountain to the west.
Essentially, Cadillac Fairview request a zoning change to bring its land value, while Ivanhoe Cambridge is opposed, lest the new towers overshadow its own skyscraper.
The aspirant and champion
The aspirant, Cadillac Fairview continues building its Quad Windsor project, an investment of $ 2 billion over 15 years, near the Bell Centre. This project has given new life to the area, which previously struggled to take off. The Tour des Canadiens (TC1) and the Deloitte Tower currently under construction. The TC2 is coming on the rue Saint-Antoine. Further rounds are planned for 750 and 600, Peel.
Defending champion, Ivanhoe Cambridge is one of the largest property owners downtown. His possessions are concentrated mainly in the heart of the business district in the center of the avenue McGill College currently struggling with a considerable stock of available space.
Ivanhoe plans to invest 1 billion as part of its Montreal plane, either at Place Ville-Marie, with Manulife, 900 De Maisonneuve or in the long-awaited renovation of the hotel The Queen Elizabeth.
210 meters high
Cadillac Fairview (CF) is asking the City to extend to the neighborhood stations zoning in force elsewhere in the city center, which would allow it to build up to 210 meters in height.
Matter of logic and fairness, supported CF before the Office de consultation publique de Montreal (OCPM). “It is believed that the axis of development of Peel Street has such importance that the axis McGill in the Quartier international, which is obvious is that in the Quartier international sector, it allows heights are 210 meters while no the west side does, “argued the commissioners François Rioux, architect of the firm Fahey and Associates, commissioned by CF to explain its point of view.
Such a change would also give the flexibility to Cadillac Fairview to meet the needs of its future office tenants and make Quad Windsor successful.
Maintaining the current limit of 120 meters would cause CF postpone investments, supported his agent in response to a question from the Chair of the OCPM.
Weaken the heart of the city
The current champion of downtown does not hear well. Ivanhoe Cambridge has taken the trouble to testify before the OCPM complement its memory to make his disagreement.
“One may ask, we read in the addendum, if to implicitly encourage the opening of a new line of urban activities somewhat on the sidelines of downtown would not have the impact of weakening the business area activities. This deserves to be strengthened instead, “wrote Stéphane Lalonde, Vice President Development Québec, arguing there is no shortage of vacant lots in downtown.
“Should we not then redevelop or densify priority these lands underutilized or vacant before allowing greater heights in the periphery, so to counteract congestion and conversely encourage the use of public transportation?” He says .
Mr. Lalonde, whose company holds the 1000 De La Gauchetière, in the area covered by the PPU, is concerned about the impacts on congestion, already heavy in the area, that would surely cause the appearance of buildings more ups and denser.
Which of the two will win? Cadillac Fairview, which counts on strong partners like Canadian hockey club, the Solidarity Fund QFL and Canderel, or Ivanhoe Cambridge, which is not without powerful allies, it dominates the city center since the early 2000s ?
The conflict causes discomfort in the industry. The Urban Development Institute of Quebec, lobby developers, stay away from the arena. He has not submitted a brief to the OCPM and its CEO, the economist Mario Lefebvre, told us on the phone that the priorities of the organization are elsewhere.
The challenge however, is not trivial. If either of the fighters questioned its investments, Montreal would clear instantly. Hundreds of millions are at stake.