The bad news for Devimco’s proposed 1.3 billion dollar redevelopment keeps piling up with last week possibly being the tipping point. After being forced to scale back phase 1 of the plan due to an ailing economy, La Presse reported last week that unless the city pitches in with money to add green space to the Lachine Canal and go ahead with the tramway along Peel, they’ll pack up and head back to Brossard to do more work on their Dix30 “lifestyle centre”. “J’ai multiplié par cinq la valeur de tous leurs terrains à mes frais. J’ai déjà dépensé 10 millions dans ce projet. J’ai pris des risques. Si je voulais, j’ai un million de pieds carrés à construire le long de l’autoroute 10 et c’est moins risqué…” Devimco president, Serge Goulet told La Presse.
Adding to Devimco’s Griffintown woes is the city’s decision to cancel the expropriation orders on the 27 properties set aside to be demolished in order to widen parts of Peel and Wellington. This allows individual property owners in the area the ability to take new tenants again, sell their property outright, or to tear down their existing buildings and rebuild withing the framework of the Devimco-dictated PPU adopted last year.
Devimco asking the city for even more handouts than it has already received seems to finally be the last death-knell for this project. Other developers have been clammering over Griffintown to build their own schemes and were extremely angry with the city last year when the entire area was handed over to Devimco without asking any other developers. If the city does go through with Devimco’s demands, other developers will inevitably line up to say they can do it without the demands creating a less than ideal PR climate for City Hall (in an election year). The loss of the forced expropriations on property owners gives Devimco considerably less leverage and may see the construction of individual projects without any involvement from Devimco. I think it is now safe to predict that “Projet Griffintown” is dead and the neighbourhood’s immediate future is once again anybody’s guess.