Filed under: city council, developers, Devimco, economics, griffintown, news, press conference
Devimco’s Projet Griffintown will proceed in a greatly reduced and modified fashion, say spokespeople for the developer and the City of Montreal. According to information released at recent press events, a downsized Projet Griffintown will be built on approximately 30% of the originally planned surface area, starting in 2010, in stages.
The new project will abandon the high-profile shopping centre to focus on canalside residential and office developments, to be built on land already owned by Devimco south of Wellington Street. It’s not entirely clear, but it does appear that Devimco will release its options to purchase / expropriate land north of Wellington, which has land and property owners upset that their ability to sign new leases or develop their own properties was frozen by the city, with little to no compensation.
“The economic situation is difficult, and despite this we’re announcing we’re going ahead with our project,” Devimco spokesman André Bouthillier, said. “There aren’t many other developers announcing good news these days.”
Devimco will invest at least $300 million in the first phase of the project, beginning in 2010, he said. Meanwhile, Mayor Gérald Tremblay’s administration held a hastily organized news conference at city hall to deny the project has sunk.
“There’s no real change,” said city executive committee member Luis Miranda, who is responsible for major development projects. “The Griffintown project for us is not closed. It’s not a file we’re abandoning.”
Meanwhile, Benoit Labonté, opposition city councillor and borough mayor of Ville-Marie, blasted the Tremblay administration for its lack of long-term economic vision, and its willingness to put all its eggs in the baskets of real-estate megaprojects, in a press release:
“Alors que l’horizon économique s’assombrit, l’administration Tremblay demeure encore une fois impuissante à agir avec fermeté et audace, afin de préserver le développement de l’économie montréalaise, comme elle a été impuissante à la faire progresser au cours des sept dernières années”, a exprimé le maire Labonté. “Il est vrai que les conditions économiques actuelles rendent le développement de tels projets plus difficile. Cependant, une administration responsable, possédant un minimum de vision, aurait, depuis des mois, mis en place une stratégie de développement pouvant répondre efficacement à l’adversité et ne se serait pas uniquement fié aux grands projets immobiliers ou commerciaux”, a déclaré le chef de l’Opposition officielle.
More news and links, including some reaction from property owners:
Le Devoir: Un autre clou dans le cerceuil…
Journal de Montreal: Des propriétaires excédés
Journal de Montreal: Le mégaprojet se dégonfle
La Presse: Le projet Griffintown se fera par étapes
Radio-Canada: Griffintown: Comme un peau de chagrin
Montreal City Council votes tonight on approving the PPU that allows Devimco’s project to go forward.
If you can be there today, you’ll need to get to City Hall by 4:30pm to register to ask questions, then return at 6:30 to get your speaking order number before the session starts at 7pm.
If you can’t be there today, express your dissatisfaction with the process by calling or emailing your city councillor. It only takes a few minutes and it means a lot. (PLEASE — be polite when doing so.)
Currently, we are urging them to not approve the current PPU, and to extend public consultation on the project to allow for appropriate time for citizens and organizations to examine the revised project that was announced this week by the City and Devimco. The word of the day is “What’s the rush?”
You can find out who represents you on city council by using this page at the City’s website. Just choose “Conseiller de la Ville” from the Title popup, then select your borough (Arrondissement) from the one below that. It should return the list of all the councillors that represent you.
For the Sud-Ouest borough which includes St-Henri, Little Burgundy, Griffintown, and Pointe-St-Charles, the councillors are:
Jean-Yves Cartier – email email@example.com
Line Hamel – email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacqueline Montpetit (also the borough mayor) – email email@example.com
They share a common set of phone and fax numbers at the borough city hall:
tel: 514 872-6814 fax: 514 872-3705
If you haven’t already done so, sign the petition, or urge your friends, family and colleagues to do so! Between electronic and paper versions we’ve got over 700 signatures and it’d be great if we could break 1000.