Ogilvy proposal 'fantastic' for downtown
Project combining shops, condos, hotel one of 10 planned developments
BY ALLISON LAMPERT, THE GAZETTE APRIL 4, 2012
If it comes to fruition, the proposal to redevelop the former Ogilvy department store downtown would transform de la Montagne St., north of Ste. Catherine St. W.
Photograph by: ALLEN MCINNIS GAZETTE FILES , The Gazette
A $150-million project to reinvent the landmark Ogilvy department store in downtown Montreal as part of a hotel, residential and highend shopping complex is ambitious, even for a city undergoing an unprecedented real estate boom, real estate observers say.
The Maison Ogilvy project would expand the iconic store, which would be connected to a new development on de la Montagne St. that combines ground floor shopping and underground parking with 110 condos and a 120-room hotel, a description published Tuesday by Montreal's downtown Ville Marie borough said.
The Hotel de la Montagne would have to be demolished and a parking lot would be developed for the new construction, which would be up to 16 stories high.
"If it comes to fruition, it would be a fantastic project for downtown Montreal," said Jeffrey Berkowitz, president of Aurora Realty Consultants, a retail and real estate specialist.
The project - presented to the borough Tuesday night and is contingent on city hall approval - is the brainchild of Selfridges Group Ltd., which owns Ogilvy, along with Montreal-based partner and developer Devimco Inc. The Quebec Federation of Labour's Fonds de solidarité is a financial partner.
"It's the first step in a very long process," said Jean-Sébastien Lamoureux, a Montreal-based spokesperson for Selfridges.
The 545,000-square-foot project was at one point designed to reach all the way to de Maisonneuve Blvd.
But the owner of Wanda's strip club at the corner of de Maisonneuve refused multimillion-dollar offers to sell his building to developers, so the project is going ahead without him, sources told The Gazette.
Lamoureux would not address rumours that Selfridges-owned Holt Renfrew department store would be moved into the Ogilvy's building.
The Maison Ogilvy project is one of 10 developments - with a combined 1,600 condo units and 555,000 square feet of office space - planned by private developers for downtown Montreal, the Ville Marie borough said.
In fact, some of these 10 projects, including the transformation of the Ekers Brewery on St. Dominique St. into condos, along with plans by developer Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. to build an office tower on Saint Antoine St. near the Bell Centre, have already been announced.
In several cases, the projects would be conditional on making adequate sales or, in the case of office space, securing tenants willing to pay the higher net rents charged by developers for new construction.
A handful of developers, have already proposed building new office space in Montreal, but have yet to announce deals with anchor tenants.
Fuelled by historically low interest rates, condos are being built in record numbers in Montreal and other Canadian cities like Toronto. The new housing market, however, is expected to soften this year in Montreal with analysts expecting starts to drop 15 to 20 per cent compared with 2011.
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