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As the Economy in Montréal Heats Up, Opportunities in Commercial Real Estate Will Emerge

Powered by a low Canadian dollar, low oil prices and a stronger U.S. economy, the economic prospects for Montréal, and indeed the entire province of Québec, look very good... fueled by manufacturing and service industries, over the next few years. These conditions bode very well for commercial real estate activity in Montréal, despite some recent turbulence and relatively high vacancy rates for office leasing and in the multi-residential sector as of late.

Montréalers are no strangers to adversity in many forms such as economic downturns, huge blasts of snow over a long cold winter, or the fluctuating fortunes of their beloved Habs. And just as the economic performance of Montréal has been outpacing much of Canada for the past couple of years, the Montréal Canadians are off to a very strong start, once again. The Habs currently lead the entire NHL, anchored by a healthy Carey Price, a solid acquisition on defence in Shea Weber and Max Pacioretty leading the charge on offence. True fans hang tough, knowing that with the right kind of effort and circumstances prosperity is bound to return… the same holds true for businesses operating in Montréal.

Prospects for Prosperity Growing in Montréal

The people of Montréal have many reasons to feel optimistic these days, especially as the economic engines of manufacturing, financial and business services are starting to fire on all cylinders across the city:

Montréal’s economy is poised to achieve its best growth in five years, with manufacturing, financial services, and business services all having a healthy outlook. The region’s GDP is projected to stay at a stable 2% in 2016 and 2.1% in 2017, according to the Conference Board of Canada. Despite high vacancy rates for office space—11% down-town and 17% in the suburbs… demand for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and upgraded technology remains high. - pwc.com

Not only is Montréal’s growth and economic outlook outpacing much of Canada, the City is a shining star and economic driver within the province of Québec. The population growth of Montréal has outpaced the rest of the province in the past five years by about 1%, and is relatively well educated with approximately 25.8% of Montréalers having a bachelor degree or higher. Average household income is more $3,000 higher than the rest of the province at $80,619.

Construction on the Rise in Montréal

Construction across Montréal is also on the upswing, as private and public sector investments continue to align. In the private sector, we see the construction of the $1.7 billion RoyalMount Retail Project, with 1.6 million sq. ft. of retail space, 900,000 sq. ft. of restaurants and theatres, and 1.5 million sq. ft. of office and hotel space. New corporate headquarters are also slated for development including Manulife and Desjardins, downtown, and Ericsson and ABB in the suburbs.

In terms of infrastructure investment, according to Federal Minister of Infrastructure, Amarjeet Sohi, the new $4.25 billion Champlain bridge will be finished on time (CBC) and on budget by Dec. 01, 2018. This shiny new bridge, with state of the art engineering, will become a landmark symbol of this modernizing metropolis, linking Montréal to the South Shore with an incredible expected lifespan of 125 years!

Montréal a Draw for Commercial Real Estate Investment

The prospects for future investments in commercial real estate, especially for Class B and C properties, are also very promising for Montréal in the near term:

As for investment dynamics, Montréal will gain further attention as competition for core assets in Vancouver and Toronto has become intense. Comparatively reasonable pricing and relative economic stability should attract investors to Montreal in 2016. In the absence of trophy assets, expect more Class B and C properties to trade hands. - CBRE Research

Stabilizing oil prices and a continued low Canadian dollar also bode well for the prosperity and economic growth of the entire province of Québec, as outlined by Clément Gignac, Senior VP & Chief Economist at Industrial Alliance, speaking at the 2016 Montréal Real Estate Forum in June (see video above). The one caveat that Mr. Gignac stipulated was that policy makers in Québec need to increase their efforts to integrate skilled immigrates faster into the growing Québec economy.

Primecorp Commercial Quebec Inc.

David C. Thomson, Managing Broker

Primecorp Commercial Quebec Inc. is well positioned to take full advantage of the economic activity in Montréal and Québec, and the accompanying demand for quality commercial real estate. Our Québec team is led by the steady hand of our Managing Broker and Executive Officer, David C. Thomson, with a career in the real estate industry spanning over 42 years!

David’s vast and diverse experience includes his role as the former owner/broker of Gatineau based Decathlon Realty Corporation, Century 21 Accord Ltd., and former co-owner of CCI Commercial Realties. David has had extensive dealings with all levels of government such as school boards, the City of Gatineau, the NCC and PWGSC. David has particular expertise in the areas of land sales, retail site selection and investment property sales, and has an Honours B.A. in Urban Geography from Carleton University and an FRI diploma from the Real Estate Institute of Canada.

Pierre M. Charron, Commercial Real Estate Broker

Another pivotal member of the Primecorp Quebec team is Pierre Charron, who has over 20 years of experience in the real estate industry, with specialized expertise in house construction, land development and the financial analysis of multi-residential and commercial projects.

Pierre has a Masters degree from the University of Québec in Administration and a Bachelors degree in Accounting and Administration from the University of Ottawa. Prior to his duties as the manager of Decathlon Realty's multi-residential division, Pierre held a number of senior executive positions in the Federal Government, most notably as Director: Strategic Planning and Budgeting and Director of Management Consulting Programs-Real Estate Development Branch for the NCC.

1 & 4 Westmount Square a Big Deal for Primecorp in Montréal

1 & 4 Westmount Square Montreal, Quebec 1 & 4 Westmount Square, Montréal

The skill and expertise of Primecorp operating in the Montréal commercial real estate sector shone through with the recent sale of iconic 1 and 4 Westmount Square, encompassing 328,558 sq. ft. of prime office and retail space. This rare trophy asset, consisting of a pair of office towers and a retail concourse designed by world-renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, was sold to Creccal Investments Ltd. by JLL Capital Market’s Group and Primecorp’s National Investment Team led by David Thomson, Aik Aliferis and Nick Pantieras on behalf of Elad Canada:

Elad Canada is pleased the property is staying in the capable hands of the buyer, Creccal Investments Ltd. The transaction went smoothly and through JLL and Primecorp’s professionalism and extensive network of qualified buyers we were able to quickly move through the selling process, providing exceptional results. - Rafael Lazer, CEO of Elad Canada Inc.

Interested in Commercial Real Estate Investment or Sales Opportunities in Montréal and Québec?

Contact our experienced and highly qualified team at Primecorp Commercial Quebec Inc. and we would be pleased to assist with any commercial real estate sales or investment opportunities you may be considering, in this vibrant and growing province… which also has an excellent shot at winning the Stanley Cup this season!

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