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Cadillac Fairview unveils $2-billion Montreal development

The Montreal downtown skyline

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Cadillac Fairview Corp. wants to revitalize and extend southward Montreal's downtown with an office-retail-residential project clustered around the Montreal Canadiens' home.

The mixed-use project is to be built over 15 years and is valued at almost $2-billion.

So far, about $800-million has been committed to two buildings close to the Bell Centre, where the Canadiens hockey team plays: the 50-storey Tour des Canadiens residential tower and the Deloitte Tower, a commercial high-rise.

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The rest of the multiphase project – on lands lying south of St. Antoine Street – has yet to determined, said Salvatore Iacono, Cadillac Fairview's senior vice-president for Eastern Canada.

He said Cadillac Fairview – the real estate arm of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan – wants to take the time to analyze market conditions going forward and other factors before making a firm commitment to the phase involving the lands south of St. Antoine.

The timing is right for major new real estate projects in downtown Montreal, said Mr. Iacono.

Much of the city's existing downtown office space is old and out of date and there is pent-up demand for new buildings offering the latest in innovation that also boast an environmentally friendly profile, he said.

A report last December by corporate real estate adviser Newmarket Knight Frank Devencore said one million square feet of class A and class B office space was absorbed over the past two years, making for "considerable leasing activity."

Mr. Iacono said there is also a marked interest, in the residential market, in downtown living, brushing aside fears in some quarters that the downtown condominium segment is being overbuilt.

The new project will add up to five million square feet, if all of the phases – including the section south of St. Antoine – go ahead, the company said.

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"This is city building," Mr. Iacono said in an interview Friday after making a presentation at a Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal event.

The plan is a more sprawling version of Cadillac Fairview's mixed-use Maple Leaf Square around the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, he said.

The Deloitte Tower is scheduled for completion in June, 2015, while the Tour des Canadiens has a 2016 delivery date.

Cadillac Fairview claims that the Deloitte Tower will be Montreal's first privately owned commercial office tower to be built in more than 20 years.

The company said the Montreal plan strengthens its strategy of "expanding our core property assets, office and retail, in key urban markets."

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