More details on the Griffintown redevelopment

New details have emerged today on the redevelopment of Griffintown, which we first wrote about last July. Radio-Canada reports that it will cost at least $1.3 billion, cover 1.1 million square feet, and will include 3,900 housing units, a theatre or music venue, a cinema, office space, two hotels and underground parking. Devimco, the developer, will also invest $10 million in a future tramway station along Peel Street. The city will also require the construction of 900 housing units to be reserved for low-income housing.

Here’s more information from a news release issued this afternoon:

During its weekly meeting held this morning, the executive committee of the City of Montreal has given the green light to the development of a programme particulier d’urbanisme (PPU) in which the City of Montreal, the Southwest borough and Devimco have agreed on the broad outlines of this multifunctional project, which includes a solid residential component.

In this context, over the coming months the promoter will continue the information and consultation process with stakeholders that began last June in an effort to develop the project. Some twenty meetings have already been held and many more are planned. Organizations such as the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie du sud-ouest de Montréal, Héritage Montréal, the group of Irish societies, RESO (Regroupement économique et social du sud-ouest), the Ecole de technologie supérieure (ETS), Société du Havre and the Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain have agreed to collaborate on developing this residential, commercial, cultural and recreational tourism project, which involves an area of 1.1 million square feet.

Devimco, the City of Montreal and the Southwest borough have agreed to the project guidelines and, on the basis of these broad guidelines, will continue discussions with stakeholders in order to ensure continued development of the project.

The principle guidelines are:

To offer a new living environment that is safe, attractive and diversified by implementing a variety of services: Creation of about 3,900 residential units (nearly 65% of the project) to meet the needs of a diverse clientele (young families, couples without children, singles, seniors and students); a significant amount of social and affordable housing

A diversified commercial offering (services, shops, restaurants) to create a vibrant and lively area (nearly 18% of the project): construction of a theatre; construction of a movie theatre complex; construction of office space; construction of two hotels

Integrating the Lachine Canal into the urban fabric, extending Rue de la Montagne, developing walkways and creating visual openness

Promoting economic development and the real estate sector by stimulating tax benefits and private investment

Encouraging sustainable development by promoting the use of public transport: investment of $10 million by the developer in the proposed implementation of a tram service on Peel Street; construction of the bicycle path along the Lachine Canal and within the project area; creation of paid underground parking

Build a network of public and green spaces composed of revitalized existing parks and new public areas totaling more than 600,000 square feet

Respect the heritage report commissioned by the City of Montreal

When the Journal de Montréal first broke news of the Griffintown redevelopment last summer, it suggested that Devimco would be building something similar to its most recent development, the Dix30 lifestyle centre in Brossard. Now that more details are available, it seems safe to say that what’s happening in Griffintown will be much more urban in design and scale, with no surface parking and space for a future tramway line. An LCN report on the redevelopment and a Gazette dossier on the plan offer an idea of what it might look like: mid-rise residential towers with retail at the base, with public places incorporating some of the area’s older industrial buildings. On the surface, at least, it seems very similar in form (if not style) to the waterfront Concord Pacific development in downtown Vancouver.

Still, it’s important to pay attention to this development and to evaluate it with a critical eye. With that in mind, a group of concerned Griffintown residents will be holding a meeting tomorrow evening to discuss the idea of establishing a museum or cultural centre in Griffintown. AJ Kandy, of the group Save Griffintown, will also deliver a slide presentation of how to develop Griffintown according to New Urbanist guidelines, with a mix of residential and commercial uses and a focus on pedestrians and public transit. The meeting will be held at 5:30pm, 1204 Ottawa Street, near the corner of Murray. If you wish to attend, please RSVP with Judith Gobeil at 514 875 7644 or by email at museegriffintown@gmail.com.

8 comments

  1. Thanks for the plug!

    I just noticed that the development doesn’t touch the Canada Post sorting plant at all – instead, it wraps around the old St. Ann’s Ward site, which forms the main triangular park in the western part of the development. That throws a lot of assumptions out the window — it actually spans more the area between De La Montagne and University, and not as far west as Guy. So the fate of the Canada Post plant is still up in the air — I’m sure that proximity to Village Griffintown would encourage redevelopment, maybe along the more intimately-scaled lines we are hoping for.

  2. What on Earth is this project? It will do nothing to fix the urban problem of this area… like all private projects do. This is a particular area of Montreal which represent the birth of industrialisation in our country. Care should be taken when projects like this one are put forward! Especially, critical thinking and analysis. The Southwest borrow has been trying to connect its Northern end the city (ETS side) while the Canal area needs much attention…

  3. Thanks for the heads up on the meeting but please clarify “tomorrow”. Is this meeting taking place on Friday the 23rd?

  4. I was born in Griffintown in1933 and lived there for over half my life. I am very interested in what will become of it. Today is Feb.21, 2008. I just heard that there is an information meeting tonight. Does anyone know where and when it will take place? Thank you.

  5. Pingback: OTL Blog » Blog Archive » Whose history is it?

  6. This does not seem to me as a shopping mall or a suburban atrocity. If looked at carefully, it is obvious that care was taken in developping public areas, views, and general access to the Canal and the surrounding neighborhoods. However, I do agree the city grid seems to get lost, however, we can delight ourselves with the pedestrian pathways that follow the street grid.

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