The City Centre Report : 2nd edition

2 minutes

Montreal centre-ville

  • © Montreal cityscape from the Park Jean Drapeau during blue hour
The City Centre Report is a quarterly report, free and accessible to everyone, that highlights the socio economic reality of downtown Montreal.

This second report provides an update, with data from the fourth quarter compared to the second quarter of 2020. Data are compiled in six categories of indicator :

office occupancy

retail business


higher education



A web survey was conducted from January 6 to 14 amongst 1,000 residents of the Montreal metropolitan area. However, questions concerned the situation as it stood before December 24, 2020, or in other words before the imposed closing of non-essential businesses and the curfew (January 9, 2021)

The City Centre Report is an initiative of Montréal centre-ville and the Urban Development Institute (IDU) with the financial contribution of the City of Montreal and le gouvernement du Québec.


The City Centre Report © 2021
The City Centre Report © 2021

Remote work and real estate: emerging trends

The survey indicated that two-thirds of respondents (67%) wanted to continue teleworking the majority of their time after the pandemic. In the second quarter of the year 2020, this proportion was 76%.

However, half of the respondents (51%) judged work relationships to be harder to maintain, 30% stated it made problem resolution more difficult and only 18% and 17% respectively considered it to impair their creativity and productivity.

The City Centre Report © 2021
The City Centre Report © 2021

An trend is regarding office towers and vacancies. Indeed, in downtown office towers, the increase in the amount of space available has continued, with the overall vacancy rate being 12.4% in the fourth quarter of 2020.

However, this data should be contrasted regarding the situation of the vacancy rate for Class A buildings between the second and fourth quarters of 2020 that has barely changed. Class C buildings are more impacted with a vacancy rate of 20.3%. Class C buildings are older buildings, located on less attractive streets, that may need renovation and correspond at 5% of the share supply in downtown.

The City Centre Report © 2021
The City Centre Report © 2021

Finally, regarding business the situation is stable but yet difficult. We can observe that there was little change between the second and fourth quarters of 2020. Downtown business activity has been particularly hard hit by the crisis, since it is largely dependent on the influx of workers heading to their offices, as well as tourists.

Do you want to read the entire City Centre Report?