Montreal’s residential real estate market has grabbed all the headlines in recent years, but the city’s commercial sector is beginning to burgeon and it, too, will get its due.
Toronto-based Michel Durand, president and CEO of Multi-Prets & Mortgage Alliance Commercial, says that Toronto and Vancouver cast a pall on Montreal, but as those cities have begun topping out, the Quebecois metropolis is attracting international attention.
“The Montreal market is finally seeing its share of the Asian influence, which we saw in Vancouver about 10 years ago and then it moved to Toronto when things got overcrowded and overpriced. Now we’re seeing a lot of development money moving into Montreal, which we’ve witnessed over the last three years and which, I think, is a trend that’s going to stick for at least the next five years,” said Durand.
Of course, in Montreal it began with an explosion of interest in residential, and with its success has come the next, if more lucrative, phase of the city’s real estate development.
“Residential is a catalyst for commercial development,” continued Durand. “Once investors and developers get a taste of how easy it is on the residential side—we’ve seen a lot of condos and towers go up from Asian investors—which is where they start, then they go into commercial development, like office buildings and new retail plazas, by partnering with local players.”
Likely contributing to Asian interest in Montreal is the city finally has direct flights to Mainland China, added Durand.
“Flights would go China-Vancouver and China-Toronto, and that’s where the money stayed,” he said, “but a few years ago flights started going to Montreal directly and we immediately saw the effects on the commercial real estate side, which also includes residential—transactions that are completely investments.”
In tandem with an institutional partner, Kevric Real Estate Corporation recently announced its purchase of a major downtown Montreal office tower located at 600 de la Gauchetière West, for which it has a big plans. The purchase is also the latest sign that downtown Montreal’s commercial real estate sector is getting a boost the likes of which it hasn’t seen since a bygone epoch in the city’s history when, as Canada’s largest city, it was the country’s economic engine.
In addition to updating 600 de la Gauchetière W.’s architecture and building a new lobby facing Square Victoria, it will try to attract companies from Montreal’s up-and-coming industries, including technology, knowledge, and media.
“This important acquisition allows Kevric to expand its offering of commercial real estate spaces for organizations which aim to distinguish themselves and will ensure the company’s growth in Montreal for years ahead,” said Richard Hylands, Kevric’s president. “Kevric is proud to continue fueling the evolution of downtown Montreal into a world-class Canadian city.”