These 3 Massive Montreal Construction Projects Will Reshape The City

We're in the midst of some once-in-a-generation change.

Staff Writer
Construction work takes place for the REM development in Montreal. Right: A mockup of the Royalmount project.

Construction work takes place for the REM development in Montreal. Right: A mockup of the Royalmount project.

Meunierd | Dreamstime, Courtesy of the Royalmount

Real estate broker Luciano D'Iorio was stuck in traffic when I called him to talk about the future of Montreal's real estate market and transportation. "When you say the word transportation," he said over the phone, people tend to wonder, "what does that have to do with real estate? And my answer is, it's got everything to do with real estate."

Travelling between built environments, accessing areas around new developments and bringing people from populated areas to commercial centres are all key points where real estate and transit overlap, and these three projects are nothing if not transit-centred.

Royalmount

D'Iorio says developments on the Royalmount mall project will have a significant impact on Montreal and its transit system in the year to come. He noted that the project will open new north-south access between the 40 and the 20, both key autoroutes to commuters in the city.

"What's exciting about that project is here is, you know, underused property, that's well-located at the centre of the island, you know, the 40 and the 15, connected to the orange line, they've got a pedestrian walkway that they're building to the Namur metro station," D'Iorio explained. The mall's high-end retailers also could attract otherwise off-island traffic. "I think some of those people are going to stay on the island and shop on the island."

To D'Iorio, this means an underserved area is getting a new lease (ha ha) on life, especially since metro entrances don't tend to exist on the west side of the Décarie.

The relative dearth of metro access, the city expects, could create even more traffic in the area. Montreal has been calling for a two-station extension of the orange line from Côte-Vertu to Bois-Franc since 2020, but there are no concrete plans yet.

And then there's Town of Mount Royal Mayor Peter Malouf's opposition to the inclusion of any housing units in the Royalmount project, in part because of the potential strain on municipal services that rapid population growth in the area could bring.

We'll have to wait to see the full scope of Royalmount's consequences.

The Réseau express métropolitain (REM)

The light rail network under construction across the island is a no-brainer in terms of its impact on the city's future, and D'Iorio thinks we have reason to be excited. "With the REM slowly opening up that tranche between the South Shore and downtown, I think it's going to be a game changer," he said, highlighting that additional transit options "towards the West Island" are promising, too.

"[These are] two areas of the greater Montreal area that [have] been underserved in terms of transportation," D'Iorio told MTL Blog. New projects, like the futuristic Solar development — a fusion of residential, commercial and business space forming one "uniquartier" in Brossard — are already cropping up around key points on the REM's path.

"I think what you'll see is probably densification of certain sites along the REM, obviously, within zoning confines," D'Iorio added, "But I would think that that'll help stabilize housing."

The Blue Line Extension


Finally, the long-awaited extension of Montreal's blue line of the STM will certainly affect neighbourhoods in the east of the island. "It's going to have a positive impact for any investors in those neighbourhoods," D'Iorio said, adding that their assets might increase in value. "I think it's the same phenomenon as the REM, in that you'll see densification along that blue line."

It'll go through spaces that D'Iorio believes have "high development potential," so the extension might bring more businesses to areas where they've been historically less viable.

"And anybody who owns a home in those neighbourhoods, or buildings in those neighbourhoods, commercial, retail office even, will see that the impact is going to be a positive one," he concluded.

Willa Holt
Staff Writer
Willa Holt is a Staff Writer for MTL Blog focused on apartments for rent and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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