The City Centre Report : 3rd edition

2 minutes

Montreal centre-ville

  • © Happy traveller couple holding hands enjoying the spectacular city skyline of Montreal from view point
The City Centre Report is a quarterly report, free and accessible to everyone, that highlights the socio economic reality of downtown Montreal. Here the overview of the 3rd edition !

This third edition of City Centre Report provides previously unpublished information that will allow readers to appreciate the effect the health crisis has had on socioeconomic activity in downtown Montreal while the pace of vaccinations against COVID-19 is increasing, as is the hope that things will soon return to normal. A report developed in collaboration with the Institut de développement urbain du Québec (IDU), the City of Montreal and the government of Quebec as a financial partner.


Offices : emerging trend

The number of unoccupied offices, whether rentals or sublets, remains relatively high in downtown Montreal, but the situation is not as gloomy as is sometimes imagined. Indeed, there is notably a relative stability amongst Class A buildings, with even more favourable circumstances at the start of 2021 compared with two years ago.


The popularity of remote work is unchanging but where is the perfect balance between working from home and the office? The answer will vary based on the organization, person, responsibilities, etc. 76% of the people queried in the first quarter of 2021 stated they wanted to continue working from home more than half the week even once the health measures have been lifted and most people are vaccinated.

The office space’s renters are looking for flexibility. Indeed, five trends regarding the rent of office space are emerging :

Reduction in total area rented

Increase in spaces for sublet

Renewal for a shorter period

Relocation to higher quality spaces

Creation of secondary spaces in the suburbs

Retail businesses : the situation continues

Stores located in shopping malls saw a 14-percentage-point increase in their rate of inactivity in the fourth quarter of 2020 and first quarter of 2021. The portrait remained the same on Sainte-Catherine between the end of 2020 and the start of 2021. One encouraging sign is that businesses located in office buildings and train stations, which were hard hit from the start of the health crisis, have seen their inactivity rate reduced by 9 percentage points.

Nevertheless, the popularity of remote work should have an effect on consumption habits, but it’s hard to see exactly how at the moment.

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