An older mockup of the Projet-Griffintown plan proposed by Devimco last year.
Yesterday, The Gazette reported that Devimco, the company that gained approval from city hall last summer to build a massive mixed-use development near the Peel Basin, may have to downsize the first phase of their plan. Citing concerns over the state of the economy, Devimco is drafting a “plan-B”which would bring the cost of phase 1 down to about $200 million from the originally planned $400 million.
The alternative plan, to be presented to the city sometime in the next couple weeks, will also give a new time-line for when ground will be broken for the project. In November, Devimco announced they would delay the originally planned summer 2009 start-date by a year meaning development probably won’t start until sometime around summer 2010. The article also talks to various business and land owners in the area who shed doubt on whether the project will even happen at all.
What could this mean the future of Griffintown? A less ambitious project may lead to a smaller, more human-scaled development, however given Devimco’s history concerning this project, it’s not unlikely that the new plan to be presented to the city will look more like a large shopping centre than a mixed-use neighbourhood. Indeed, the first phase of the project is largely commercial with the later phases being the residential components, so it would be fairly easy for Devimco to build a mall in phase 1, then abandon the rest of the project.
Another question to be raised is whether or not Devimco and the city will have to go through another round of public consultations concerning the project and its impact on the area. The project approved by the city was the $1.3 billion dollar project which this will obviously fail to be. However, considering how city hall has acted on this dossier, acting essentially as a rubber stamp factory for Devimco, I wouldn’t put too much faith in the city getting tough on the developer and forcing them to go through with what was promised.