Martin C. Barry
Several new development projects were announced on Nov. 7 during the City of Laval’s 5th annual real-estate forum, including one that will soon see a large landmark at the corner of Curé-Labelle and Notre-Dame demolished and replaced with an eight-storey residential rental project.
Project Récréathèque, which is being promoted by Montreal developer Shafiraman Weiss (Vertex Construction) and designed by architect David Smith, will rise up to eight stories and have 347 housing units, 532 interior parking spaces, 13 more spaces outside, as well as additional parking for motorcycles and bicycles.
Bye to old Récréathèque
As most people in Chomedey and elsewhere in Laval already know, the current Récréathèque – a massive building that served as an amusement centre for 45 years – closed in 2012 and has fallen into a considerable state of deterioration since then.
Many generations of people from Laval, as well those who’ve travelled along Curé Labelle Blvd. while heading north on Route 117, have lasting memories of the Récréathèque.
“I think everybody in Laval knows La Récréathèque – we’ve either been there or passed by,” David Smith said during a presentation on the project he gave during the forum. “But as everybody also knows by now, it’s been shut for some time and the area is even roped off for security reasons.”
Easy access to transit
Smith described the area in question as ideal for the type of development he and the builder have in mind, as the availability of public transportation is optimal and offers easy connections in all directions to almost anywhere in Laval or Montreal.
In recent years, there have also been suggestions by Mayor Marc Demers that the city hopes to eventually establish a new Metro station for Chomedey somewhere near the Récréathèque site.
While Smith made no mention at all of a Metro station in his presentation, Laval executive-committee vice-president Stéphane Boyer acknowledged in an interview afterwards that the city hasn’t abandoned the notion.
Maybe a Metro stop?
“We never reveal the exact locations of Metro stations to avoid speculation,” he told The Laval News. “But we have roughly traced out the path for an extension of the Orange Line and it foresees having a Metro stop in that area when the Quebec government allots the sums to extend the Orange Line.”
Boyer suggested that a Metro station roughly in that area would make sense since the Val-Martin public housing project (currently under redevelopment) is only a short distance east of there. According to the developer, demolition of the old Récréathèque building should begin in January. Construction will be spread out over the following three years.
Stimulus for the area
“This is a great project,” said Laval city councillor for l’Abord-à-Plouffe Vasilios Karidogiannis, who is the local elected official in the Demers administration closest to the dossier.
“For years that building’s been derelict and an eyesore,” he said. “This project will be like a linchpin for economic development in the neighbourhood. It’s sure to accelerate more positive development in the area. I’m sure that businesses in the area are very excited about it as well. This project will be densifying the area and the future is all about densification.”
A second notable development project announced during the real-estate forum will be property developer/builder Cosoltec’s Code 440 project.
Cosoltec’s Code 440 project
The mixed use office and industrial building is slated to be built next year on Lucien Lallier St. near the A-440 offering additional quick access to autoroutes 13 and 15 and less than 25 minutes from downtown Montreal. One floor of the four-storey avant-garde building will serve as Cosoltec’s corporate headquarters.
“With 30,000 new housing units planned from now to 2031 and $960 million in permits for the year 2018, it’s clear that the real-estate sector in Laval is in full growth,” Stéphane Boyer said in closing remarks.
However, he noted that the city is now applying a selective approach in its choice of projects allowed to proceed, in contrast to a more indiscriminate policy the former administration of longtime mayor Gilles Vaillancourt was known for.
New development approach
“We no longer want to have sterile residential towers surrounded by parking spaces,” he said, alluding to some of the former administration’s projects. “From here on in we are looking for quality projects which fit well into neighbourhoods where there is a lot of activity. This sometimes requires our paying more attention to smaller details and can also cost a little more to build in the short term.
“But in the long term, it’s what will ensure the growth and attractiveness of our city,” Boyer added. “Because in a world where the quality of life is increasing, where there is also a shortage of labour, and where younger generations are looking for lifestyle, it’s the quality of life that we are creating today that will end up drawing and retaining tomorrow’s residents and businesses.”