Place Fleur de Lys | Quebec is funding a mall transformation

The Government of Quebec is investing US$43 million to transform Place Fleur de Lys into a US$750 million multipurpose complex with residential, office and public service components. An unusual intervention that provokes reactions.

Posted at 5:00 am

Andre Dubuc

Andre Dubuc
The press

According to the decree, published on July 27 and passed on July 6, the money comes from the government’s discretionary powers, called the Economic Development Fund, which is used to fund businesses. Investissement Québec (IQ) acts as intermediary.

“The intervention is justified by its differentiation from other real estate projects. This major project will help revitalize a central part of Quebec City, attracting new customers and offering a range of services to the surrounding population,” the Department of Commerce said.

“It’s a business partnership with an expectation of something in return,” we continue. If other promoters submit similar projects, they will be analyzed taking into account the same criteria and with the same rigor as for the Place Fleur de Lys,” the government assures.

No social housing

Without success, The press asked the government and the owners of Place Fleur de Lys for the number of planned social housing projects. A daily article The sun from September 2021 reported that there would be 0 of the first 1000 apartments.

The government investment will take the form of purchasing preferred stock for a maximum of $43 million in 9468-4859 Québec, whose directors are affiliated with Trudel Alliance, owner of Place Fleur de Lys. The requested service will be treated confidentially.

The limited partnership Trudel Alliance is in the process of transforming the old center on a 280,000 m site2 (3 million square feet) in a mixed-use complex. Works worth 750 million, spread over five to seven years, are on the program.

More than 2,500 residential units, a university campus, trees, communal facilities, offices and commercial space replace the dilapidated shopping mall of around 80,000 m2 (860,000 square feet2).

The Trudel Alliance Limited Partnership is owned by brothers William and Jonathan Trudel and their partners. Among the sponsors is a company associated with the manufacturer Pomerleau.


PHOTO PATRICE LAROCHE, LE SOLEIL ARCHIVE

Brothers William and Jonathan Trudel, owners of Trudel Alliance, in June 2021

“This government investment is made through a preferential equity investment. These are eventually bought by Trudel. This investment reinforces the innovative aspect of Fleur de Lys,” Trudel said in a second email sent to The press. In another email previously sent, the company wrote that the project “would have been carried out with or without government support”.

The new UQTR campus in Quebec, not far from Place Fleur de Lys, welcomed its first students last fall. The opening of a university for the third age is also under discussion there. The transformation project was the subject of a stakeholder consultation.

a previous one

“If the funds are used for the redevelopment of the center, the equivalent value must be made available to all project promoters,” says Vincent Chiara, president of Groupe Mach, owner of several shopping centers in the Quebec region.

There are 50 malls covering over 500,000 square feet.2 Rental space in Quebec. “Virtually everyone has transformation projects,” notes commercial real estate specialist Jean-François Grenier, Senior Director of Altus Analytical Solutions.

In the past, the state government has intervened in the private real estate market through subsidies for building tenants. This was particularly the case at the turn of the century with the Cité Multimedia and the Cité du Commerce E-Commerce. Competitors had complained about unfair competition. This time the intervention takes place on the capital of a subsidiary of the promoter.

“A legitimate intervention”

“Such support is certainly not common,” agrees François Des Rosiers, a professor at Laval University. It is undoubtedly part of a major urban redevelopment perspective around the Videotron Centre. So it’s not a question of “renovating” the shopping center, but of radically changing its purpose,” he specifies.

For Danielle Pilette, professor in the Department of Strategy, Social and Environmental Responsibility at UQAM’s School of Management Sciences, the government’s intervention is justified as the funded project aims to transform a sector of Vanier, a central district of the city of Quebec, distressing love.

The presence of the UQTR campus and the future university of the third age contribute to the democratization of knowledge.

Danielle Pilette, Professor at UQAM’s School of Management Sciences

There is still work to be done to re-skill Quebec City based on knowledge. This type of government intervention is part of this approach. By investing in preferred shares, she adds, the state gives itself guarantees.

“Urban renewal” is the keyword, says Christian Yaccarini, President of the Société de développement Angus (SDA), a project promoter that proposes projects with socio-economic components. “Basically, I find it interesting that the government is getting involved in supporting urban renewal projects in a context of the housing crisis, with rising costs and land prices,” he says.

In addition, by the time the Angus lands development at Rosemont began, the SDA had received $32 million in government loans in the 1990s, which he points out proved essential to launching the adventure and making it a success. The loans have since been repaid.

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