Consultation and survey results

Virtual consultation of Tuesday, June 22, 19:00: View it here.

Results from various surveys related to the consultation:


General presentation

Carbonleo’s Royalmount project aims to transform a small part of the Town of Mount Royal’s industrial sector by building a new real estate development from the ground up. This ambitious private project has evolved significantly since its inception. From the outset, the Town has been closely monitoring the situation and holding ongoing discussions with Carbonleo.

Initial project

Retail, entertainment, hospitality facilities and office spaces form the core of the Royalmount project. In 2015, the Town adopted a special planning program (PPU) for the industrial sector to allow Carbonleo’s proposed redevelopment project to go ahead. The initial version of the project, which included only a commercial component, was approved; a permit was issued and construction work started in 2019.

Revised project and current situation

At Carbonleo’s initiative, a residential component was proposed in 2018. Unlike the changes permitted under the 2015 PPU, the potential construction of residential units in the industrial sector requires the Town to proceed with caution. The repercussions on zoning and, more broadly, on land use and development would impact TMR’s very identity. The Town must further study the financial benefits of the new project and its impact on infrastructures and the existing industrial sector. Above all, it must consider the quality of life of current and future Mount Royal residents in the short-, medium- and long-term. In this respect, nothing is taken lightly.

At the Town’s request, two reports from external consultants on the revised Royalmount project— an urban planning study and a financial impact study—were commissioned in 2019. These studies were updated in line with the project’s modifications, particularly regarding the pandemic.

Royalmount project snapshot, June 2021

According to developer Carbonleo, these are the key elements of the Royalmount project at present:

  • Over 170 stores, occupying a floor area of nearly 77,000 m2 (825,000 ft2)
  • One hotel and more than 60 restaurants
  • Various entertainment options: water park, aquarium, Rec Room, VIP cinema, theatre, “Artainment” public art, family entertainment centre, parks and public green spaces
  • Modern office spaces: nearly 25,000 m2 (265,000 ft2) in phase 1
  • Residential: 3,250 housing units built over 10 years for an estimated 5,200 residents
  • Green walls, planted balconies and green roofs
  • Daily needs met within a radius of less than one kilometre (15-minute walk): range of urban services, direct connection to public transit, pedestrian paths and green spaces
  • 500 bicycle parking spaces and connection to existing bike lanes
  • Electric charging stations, etc.

Phases 1 and 2 (commercial, entertainment, hotel, piazza, park, playgrounds, ice rink, linear park, community centre, daycare centre, etc.) to be completed before the first residents arrive in 2024.

  • Phase 1: 2018–2023
  • Phase 2: 2022–2024
  • Phase 3: 2023–2027
  • Phase 4: 2024–2028
  • Phase 5: 2026–2030
  • Phase 6: 2029–2033

An increasingly residential sector

For several years now, the Namur–De la Savane sector has been undergoing major changes on both sides of the Décarie Expressway. Many multi-unit residential projects are either under development or being completed.

From the Montreal side

In its Metropolitan Land Use and Development Plan (PMAD), adopted in 2011, the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) supports the creation of carefully considered living environments that reflect the core concepts of sustainable development. This includes increasing residential occupancy around the best-served public transit corridors. Since the submission of this document, the Urban Agglomeration of Montreal has been increasing its real estate projects in the Le Triangle sector, the former racetrack and in the neighbouring borough of Saint-Laurent with the Cité Midtown project. These new developments are on Mount Royal’s doorstep and equate to an extra 15,000 housing units near our garden city.

The Royalmount project is included de facto in the sector studied in the Namur–De la Savane Working Group Report (commonly referred to as the Junca-Adenot Report), which was submitted to the Minister Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region and to the Urban Agglomeration of Montreal in 2019. Looking into mobility issues with a view to improving access to the sector, the report recommended extending Cavendish Boulevard and proposed many other active transportation options, including a footbridge over Décarie Boulevard and the creation of multimodal terminals for public transit. The decongestion of roads, including the highways, is also the subject of specific recommendations, as is the development of local housing and services in the sector.

From the Mount Royal side

The Town of Mount Royal is not against including a residential component in the Royalmount project that aligns with surrounding developments already present, but wishes to regulate the process and, at a minimum, impose conditions on it.

If the people of Mount Royal were to approve the addition of a residential component in the sector, the Town Council would ensure that various measures were put in place to protect the Town’s interests and to protect its residents against potential negative effects.

These measures would specify the maximum heights and density thresholds for residential buildings built there, totalling 3,250 dwellings (the estimated equivalent of 5,200 new residents). The Council would also restrict the construction of residential buildings to the eastern portion of the area in question so that they could easily be linked to public transit infrastructure, particularly via the elevated footbridge built to provide access to the De la Savane metro station.

The Town would negotiate memoranda of understanding with the developer, Carbonleo, to make the neighbourhood as autonomous as possible in terms of municipal services. It would also require the developer to provide financial guarantees regarding its forecasts of positive monetary benefits to Mount Royal’s finances.

For this purpose, the Town would require the developer to build, at the developer’s expense, various facilities to provide local services to residents in the area, such as parks and other green spaces, a library, arena, community centre, etc. In return, the Town would assume responsibility for operating these various services and other facilities, including providing staff and other operational resources.

Although it is unclear which categories of residents (young couples, young families, retirees, etc.) are most likely to settle in the new residential neighbourhood, the developer will need to be open to a potential agreement with the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board to allow the construction of a school in the sector, if necessary.

It goes without saying that, where applicable, the developer must also comply with the various Mount Royal and Ville de Montréal by-laws, such as those concerning the reduction of resulting noise and air pollution to preserve the quality of life of future residents of the site as well as those in adjacent areas. As for traffic, the developer will be required to undertake all the measures included in the report it commissioned from WSP.

Analysis of financial impacts and benefits to the Town

According to the developer, Carbonleo, the Royalmount project represents an estimated investment of $6.8 billion (to be completed in 2033). The project presented here is the latest version of an evolving project submitted by the developer to the Town.

Characteristics of the Royalmount project as submitted to the Town of Mount Royal  

The Royalmount project has the following components:

Commercial component

  • By 2033, the commercial project’s taxable property value will reach a current value of $3.1 billion. The project will be developed in six phases (2018–2033).
  • Over the course of the project, the value of building permits will reach a current value of $27 million. Over $3.5 million (current dollars) has already been paid to the Town.

Residential component

  • Eventually, 3,250 residential units could be built with a current taxable property value of $2.8 billion (average of $872,000). The first units are scheduled for completion in 2024.
  • 110 “Exclusive” units (1,800 sq. ft.) sold ($2.4M)
  • 1,100 “High-end” units sold as condos ($1.7M)
  • 1,500 high-quality units (710 sq. ft.) sold ($0.64M)
  • 540 rental units with a taxable value of $0.56M
  • Building permits based on construction costs are expected to reach a current value of over $12 million

Profitability of the residential project

The Town of Mount Royal has commissioned Abscisse Recherche Inc., an external firm specializing in economic and financial analysis, to estimate the profitability of the Royalmount project for the Town.

  • Based on the Town’s conservative assumptions with respect to capital and operating expenses and based on the net present value (NPV) decision criterion, the residential project will generate consistent positive cash flows of around $25.2 million (2019) over a 20-year period, after payment of the aliquot share to the agglomeration (68,6%). The project will generate positive cumulative cash flows for the Town starting in 2031.
  • According to this Net Present Value rule, the commercial project should generate $316.5 million (2019) for TMR by taking into account the aliquot share paid to the agglomeration (68,6%).
  • When taken into account together, tax revenues are positive as of 2024 due to building permit payments.

If the project moves forward based on the initial assumptions, the two components (commercial and residential) represent $341.7M over a 20-year period.

Determination of financial guaranties for the addition of the Royalmount residential component

Given that the project carries risks for both the developer and the Town of Mount Royal, and that the developer announced significant tax revenues for the municipality based on projected condo sales, from a fairness perspective, the Town cannot incur financial losses through to 2031.

In addition, given that the Town will incur capital and operating expenses to serve this new residential project and the amounts are approximate, the Town will have to protect itself against these risks and protect the interests of its residents.

The Town also wishes to ensure that the Royalmount project’s commercial component remains the primary focus, while the residential component is complementary to it.

In view of the risks inherent in this project, the Town will require the developer to provide guarantees which will be held in trust and governed by a legal contract.

In order not to penalize the developer and as prescribed by the contractual agreement, these guarantees will be reimbursed as and when minimum assessed value targets defined by the Town of Mount Royal are met.

Conclusion

Over the past few months, the Town of Mount Royal has been paying close attention to developer Carbonleo’s most recent proposal. No decision has been taken yet to allow for the inclusion of a residential component in the project. Any requirements imposed by the Town must first be met by the developer, who must formally commit to them, before council members can agree to the proposed changes. The social acceptability of adding a residential component to the Royalmount project is one of the main priorities identified when studying this issue.

Virtual consultation: Tuesday, June 22, 2021, at 19:00

The Town will conduct a public consultation to measure the project’s social acceptability as Council has always promised.  

All Townies interested in the project are invited to take part in an online consultation starting at 19:00 on the evening of Tuesday, June 22, 2021. During the evening, the Mayor will outline the project’s current status, detail its vision for the future site and answer questions from residents. Participants will be able to ask their questions live (audio only.)

To participate on Tuesday, June 22, at 19:00, you must register at : us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_qp6gNOq0SU2tRQFl8LS5Bg.

In addition, the Town will be welcoming written comments and/or submissions up to July 19 inclusive at the following address: ConsultationRoyalmount@town.mount-royal.qc.ca.

Finally, to obtain as many opinions as possible, the Town also commissioned the survey firm Leger to conduct a telephone survey of 500 residents. Respondents will be contacted at random from June 23 to July 7, 2021, inclusive.

Learn more

At the start of the January 25, 2021, regular Council meeting, mayor Philippe Roy provided an update on the Royalmount project. View the meeting on YouTube.

Read the brief submitted by Town of Mount Royal in 2019 to the Commission du développement économique de l’agglomération de Montréal (French only). Note that the brief does not cover a future residential component to the project.

Read also: