Ivanhoe Cambridge: a vision for a robust downtown

3 minutes

Montreal centre-ville

What do Place Ville Marie, Maison Manuvie, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel, the Montreal Eaton Centre in common? Ivanhoé Cambridge. More particularly the company’s Projet Nouveau Centre, an ambitious revitalization plan representing an investment of more than a billion dollars.

Despite the challenging spring, the Ivanhoé Cambridge team continued work at its major construction of Projet Nouveau Centre, which is destined to redefine the experience of retailers, professionals, and visitors to the area as well as residents—an ever-growing number of stakeholders benefiting from the advantages of a lifestyle that’s unparalleled anywhere else in Canada. This transformation of Montreal’s downtown core will have a big influence on the entire economic activity of Quebec. Johanne Marcotte, Charles-Antoine Lussier, and Annik Desmarteau, all active contributors to this major construction project, agreed to provide and update and share Ivanhoé Cambridge’s vision for this new urban infrastructure. “Although Ivanhoé Cambridge owns over a thousand buildings around the world, this initiative is special. It aims to make the downtown area a vibrant, accessible site where memorable experiences come to life,”
begins Marcotte, Vice President, National Operations, Retail.

Place Ville Marie:  a revitalised iconic building

Millions of people will benefit from a renewed experience in terms of the site’s commercial and gourmet food offering, as well as urban development. Consider first Place Ville Marie’s Esplanade and its monumental staircase and glass pavilion—an accessible experiential and cultural space worthy of any great city. “The major rejuvenation of McGill avenue will lead to a natural extension towards the Esplanade,” emphasizes Desmarteau, Vice President, Office, Quebec at Ivanhoé Cambridge. Also at Place Ville Marie, Cathcart Restaurants et Biergarten was an immediate success right from the launch in early 2020, —a gourmet destination that surpassed everyone’s expectations, recalls Desmarteau. “Since its inauguration, Place Ville Marie has remained a powerful attraction. That’s why we’re very positive in terms of its future,” she confirms.

Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth: a modern update

Desmarteau’s colleague, Charles-Antoine Lussier, Senior Vice-President of Residential and Hotel Investments, relates the recent transformation of The Queen Elizabeth Hotel, which was a major catalyst for the current wave of renovations. “Ivanhoé Cambridge invested over $140 million to renovate the hotel from top to bottom. We built Espace C2 on the roof, a showpiece that offers an impressive view of downtown. The multipurpose rooms of the business headquarters CoLab 3 encourage creativity and innovation, which also symbolize the spirit of Projet Nouveau Centre,” Lussier notes. The Marché Artisans, the local cuisine served at Rosélys restaurant and the inventiveness of the bar Kréma are also places that enrich the overall experience of the biggest hotel in Quebec.

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Montreal Eaton Centre: in the big leagues

In terms of retail, the Montreal Eaton Centre is alsogetting a major makeover. “Ivanhoé Cambridge invested $200 million to strengthen its commercial experience,” explains Marcotte. The opening of iconic brands like Décathlon at the end of 2019 and Uniqlo this fall testify to the Eaton Centre’s powerful appeal. Even more so now that it’s home to a superb main course, Time Out Market Montreal, The best of the City under one roof.

Maison manuvie: a space for living

Two blocks away, Maison Manuvie is “an exemplary structure, highly sought-after, with an occupancy rate of 98 percent,” says Desmarteau. LEED Gold certified in recognition of its sustainable, ecologically friendly architecture, the 27-storey building drew the attention of Erkin Adylov, President of Behavox. Active in the artificial intelligence sector, the New York–based company announced its move to Montreal at the end of June, expanding from 75 to 400 employees and planning its listing on the stock exchange.

The future looks bright

Naturally, the pandemic affected many sectors. Desmarteau mentions the support of professionals who continued their work despite adversity at the company’s various sites. Lussier emphasizes that Ivanhoé Cambridge’s role is to “Fiduciary responsabilities to Quebecers as well as having a positive impact on the community, especially in Quebec. A strong city needs a strong downtown core,” he says, mentioning the mobilization of teams in the kitchen at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, particularly through their participation in Tablée des Chefs Cuisines solidaires. “The word ‘partnership’ has been a common thread over the past few months,” says Marcotte. “We supported and highlighted several initiatives to reduce the impact on retailers and tenants, and also organized fundraising activi­ties.” Additionally, she emphasizes their desire to maintain their offering year-round. “With increased residential density in Montreal’s downtown core, we want to better serve this community,” she insists. In any event, she is optimistic about the future. “The pandemic has an impact on the economy, and we remain confident that activities will return to normal once the health crisis is behind us.“