People may think that Montreal's West Island might be just a little nook on the far side of the island, but not too long from now, we could be visiting Downtown West Island. That's right, "making my way downtown" is about to get a whole new meaning.
The project is the vision of Cadillac Fairview, which owns Cadillac Fairview Pointe-Claire.
We spoke with Jeroen Henrich, Vice-President of Development at Cadillac Fairview, about the project, who says we could see this new downtown centre completed in 10 to 15 years.
Something tells us that, considering the other projects from CF, it'll be well worth the wait.
How long has this been in the works? Why now?
"The project is part of a long-term vision for CF Fairview Pointe-Claire and the adjacent lands. We started with the redevelopment of the former Sears store into a Simons and new dining options.
"The goal is to build on the existing roots in the community to create a mixed-use development that addresses the needs of the West Island community," says Henrich.
"We are responding to the community’s need for housing — rental and owned — for young people, for empty nesters and seniors that want to be part of the new downtown of the West Island."
According to Henrich, the decade-long project is slated to be done in eight or nine phases.
The new REM will play a huge role in the project
Since its first proposal back in 2016, Montrealers have patiently been awaiting the arrival of the new REM system, the new Downtown West Island included.
"The REM station and the bus terminus will provide convenient multi-modal public transportation to the development. The station will be located in the middle of the project," says Henrich.
According to a press release published on September 15 by the REM, "work is progressing on the West Island."
Two stations on the Saint Anne-de-Bellevue branch, Fairview–Pointe-Claire and Anse à-l’Orme, have begun construction.
As of September 15, 2020, six out of the 14.5 kilometres in the West Island have been built, which equals 1,770 of the 4,102 segments that will constitute the structure.
It could be similar to downtown Montreal
The goal of the project is to create similar amenities and lifestyles to the downtown Montreal core.
"This will be a sustainable urban development, it will be downtown in the sense that you can walk between your home, office, transport and shopping, but it will be suburban because there will be preserved forestland, parks and public spaces," Henrich told us.
With people all over the country, including here in Montreal, finding themselves moving away from urban centres, projects like these could be monumental in the way that people on the island live, work and enjoy all that every part of Montreal has to offer.