A promoter proposes skyscrapers on Décarie

A large shopping center owner is asking Montreal for permission to build up to 35-story high-rise apartment buildings along the Decarie Expressway, a scenario that would change the face of the sector.

Posted at 8:00 am

Philippe Teisceira Lessard

Philippe Teisceira Lessard
The press

The project concerns a commercial complex adjacent to the former Blue Bonnets racecourse which has long been promised real estate redevelopment.

SmartCentres REIT is looking to “increase the allowable density to 35 floors for construction of condominiums, rental apartments and mixed-use buildings,” according to a statement issued on behalf of the company to the Lobbyists Registry. “The current location density varies between one and two storeys. »

Currently operated by SmartCentres REIT, the shopping mall includes about twenty brands, including a large Walmart store. The property is located on both sides of Rue Jean-Talon Ouest, south of the Décarie motorway. It is served by the Namur metro station.

Most notably, it’s the immediate neighbor of the former Blue Bonnets racetrack, a vacant lot on which the city plans to build 12,500 affordable housing units in the coming years.

“Very tentative”

In conversation with The press, a spokesman for SmartCentres REIT said that the company is still in the examination phase despite the mandate in the lobbyist register. “We are discussing the vision with the city,” said Herbert Nunes. It’s very, very, very preliminary in terms of what we’re looking at with the city. »

Mr Nunes argued that the 35-story figure was anything but set in stone. “Nobody knows how many stories it’s going to land in,” he said.

There is no formal request or application on our part. We are working in accordance with the wishes and needs of the city.

Herbert Nunes, spokesman for SmartCentres REIT

In the office of Mayor Valérie Plante, we welcome these steps without commenting on the merits of the case.

“We are already seeing the benefit of [promoteurs] for the Namur-Hippodrome eco-neighborhood project and its surroundings, while the administration is determined to create a carbon-neutral living environment based on sustainable mobility, social diversity, the presence of green spaces and shops,” writes Marikym Gaudreault, Communications Manager for Valerie Plante.

She added: “Any duly registered lobbyist is entitled to make statements according to their mandate, but remember that every project submitted follows the usual regulatory process and is analyzed according to the applicable framework. »

Reinvent the centers commercially

It’s Stantec, a major Canadian engineering firm, that is lobbying for smart center REITs to local government. Several Stantec employees have registered with the registry with the same mandate to legally communicate with the city about the project.

The redevelopment project of the shopping center at the intersection of Autoroute Décarie and Rue Jean-Talon Ouest is part of a broader perspective for SmartCentres: adapting to the boom in e-commerce since the beginning of the pandemic. The housing shortage creates favorable opportunities for housing conversion projects.

“We look at all of our sites from the same perspective: how can we reinvent them? said Mr. Nunes.

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