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    Passionate about Montreal
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  1. Exposteve

    Expos coming back?

    This article was written by Pat Hickey, long-time beat writer for the Habs for the Gazette. He is good on the Habs beat but has limited credibility with regards to anything related to MLB or the NBA. This is an opinion piece with little weight to it, and with all due respect to Pat Hickey he is not in any way informed on these matters, especially with regards to MLB. How many confirmations do we need from Bronfman of the money being there to get past that question? The issue remains in the hands of MLB and whether they decide to relocate a team or proceed with expansion.
  2. This could very well be what ends up happening. I also wondered about the former Parasuco store at the corner of Crescent which is currently vacant. It has three stores and would also be highly visible (albeit not as visible as Place Montreal Trust) and close to Apple Store.
  3. Exposteve

    Expos coming back?

    I don't disagree and don't expect taxpayers to pay for the bill, or at least not the full bill. I am a taxpayer myself. Selfishly as a baseball fan I would be okay with them investing responsibly in the project just like they do in a number of other sectors that don't specifically impact me (that's called living in society!)... but I never suggested that taxpayers should pay the full/majority of any such project. I know enough about the economics of these stadiums that it's rarely a good deal for the government. That said, the model being employed by Cadillac Faiview and the Canadiens is a godo example of a trend common in sports these days where stadiums and arenas are used as centrepieces for development clusters, and there may be some value in that for the government. Side-note: Bringing Olympic Stadium up to even just "average" quality would require hundreds of millions of dollars... I mean average 2018 quality. So while the idea of throwing some money at the Olympic Stadium to host MLB is a nice idea, it's still a few hundred million dollars and you're not going to get the ideal product. The fact that recent media reports are talking about $1 billion over the next 8 years in upgrades to Olympic Stadium (some of which relates to the tower reno for Desjardins and the Biodome) should be a good indication of just how complex that building is and how far we're starting from. And you still haven't addressed the fact that sitting in the upper deck at Olympic Stadium for baseball you may as well be in a different time zone. I like the suggestion of a beer garden/food trucks. Although that doesn't generate much plus-value for the neighbourhood outside of baseball games and won't increase property values, etc. Still a good suggestion.
  4. Exposteve

    Expos coming back?

    We`ve had this debate over and over again in these threads. Location is a primary driver of business, and if you're attending games with your departure and arrival point both being downtown, I agree a 20 min metro ride is no big deal. However, if you live in Laval or the south shore or the west island and you work downtown... and you need to go home after the game, that is very inconvenient. Sure it`s 20 mins from the office, but it's 1h30 home to the West Island on public transit after the game. I work downtown with many baseball fans (the kind, like me, who are willing to travel to different cities to see live MLB), many of whom were not prepared to go to Olympic Stadium after work and then have to return to the south shore afterwards. It`s 20 mins back by metro, then transfer to a bus that may be infrequent to get home, etc. I'm not saying they're right, but that is the feedback I received. They would be more willing on weekends. There is nothing appealing about the neighbourhood around Olympic Stadium, and that is not intended as a knock to the residents of the sector because it`s a perfectly nice place to live. You need restaurants and bars and a 'vibe' surrounding games. If you were to survey MLB fans across all baseball cities in North America, the approximate breakdown of die-hard baseball fan to casual fan is about 20% die-hard, 40% casual fan, and the remaining 40% are people who are there for the experience. The experience of being part of a fun event in a fun location, outside, with friends, etc. In Montreal at Olympic Stadium, over the long-run you would still draw the 20% die-hards and some of the 40% casual fans when the team is exciting, but you will ALWAYS struggle to attract the other 40%. Sure you will get them to some games, but certainly not too many. Toronto Rogers Centre is not a classic ballpark, and it is definitely among the worst in MLB. However, #1 it is in the best possible location for that city... 100% in the heart of the GTA where all transit meets. They have commuter trains heading in almost all directions on a regular basis even at night/weekends. It's walking distance to the largest business district in the country, it's a few mins walk to the lakeshore, and it has a surrounding population of around 6 million people, many of whom are very wealthy. The ballpark also has a fully (or nearly fully) retractable roof that, when opened, makes you feel like you are truly outside. Despite being multi-purpose, it is significantly more fan friendly than Olympic Stadium could ever be as it's smaller in terms of volume, does not have as much of a cavernous feel, was built with baseball very much in mind in terms of seat placement, angles, etc. While some of these aspects could be improved at Olympic Stadium, it is unreasonable to think it would make a material difference, and you've still done nothing to improve the location issue. And as a reminder, from 1998-2014 or so, the Jays were at best middle of the pack in terms of attendance despite all of these factors. Rogers was able to acquire the SkyDome for essentially $1.00 as part of their purchase of the Jays, and that is certainly an incentive to maintain what is a great asset in an incredible location and work with it for as long possible. Note that the Argonauts were not able to make it work at Rogers Centre much like the Alouettes at Olympic Stadium. For anyone who has been to ANY existing ballpark in the United States aside from Tropicana Field in St-Pete and the field in Oakland, you usually have a combination of wonderful, family-friendly, fun/attractive/cool vibe design with views from the seats, PLUS convenient location to the vast majority of the people you hope to attract to the games. This is a BIG industry today that relies heavily on TV audience... and the TV audience event gets impacted by the beauty of the stadiums the games are played in. Watching a game on TV taking place in San Francisco is a treat because every angle is beautiful and basically an advertisement for the team, the brand, and to buy tickets. I made a trip with friends to San Francisco specifically to visit the ballpark because it's so beautiful looking. Same with Pittsburgh and Cleveland among others. The stadium sells the viewers, definitely. The price of admission is basically a cover charge for a nice evening or afternoon out with friends, hence the popularity of affordable bleacher seats, the 360 degree layout of all new stadiums, where fans can buy a ticket but wander around and watch from any number of interesting vantage points including patios, family picnic areas, grassy areas, amusement zones, etc all while being able to keep an eye on the game. If you are thinking of MLB as a business that only caters to die-hard baseball fans, you're expecting to draw only 10,000 people max in (nearly) ANY market in MLB. You can't always be the best team in MLB, you can't always depend on the bandwagon, you need to be appealing. You need to be an EASY draw for corporate tickets who will form the majority of a 20,000-base of season tickets (and sure, some of those seats will be empty on April weekdays when the team is not winning), easy for hipsters who want a place to hang out and take Instagram pictures to ADVERTISE YOUR BRAND to their friends, easy for people who are in to visit from out of town (this is bigger in MLB than NHL or NBA because of the 3-game series and uniqueness of each ballpark), and easy for the majority of your population to get to/from... in Montreal that means easy by transit to all the shores as well as east/west of island. Baseball is the only large sport left where you can still bring in your own food (not beer/bottles but food), can afford to go to a game as a family (or at least a lot more affordable than NHL in Montreal)... where you can enjoy a nice day as a family outside regardless of whether the team is in first place or last place, or whether the game was a no-hitter or a blowout. It's competitive out there... and you're selling a lifestyle event as opposed to an intense 2-hour non-stop matchup like NHL/Habs. Baseball is all about the experience, talking to friends/family, eating a hot dog and sipping a beer... because the game itself is not always very exciting, not unlike golf or many other events. You attract the most people by making it a desirable and fun and affordable experience for MOST people, not just people who are specifically in love with baseball the game. At Olympic Stadium, even if it's more comfortable with nicer seats, better concessions, better sound system, etc... you're still really only going to attract people who REALLY like baseball, which is not going to be 25,000-30,000 on average, and is likely not to include enough of the business customers and higher-spending clientele that really moves the needle in terms of profitability for this kind of thing.
  5. Exposteve

    Expos coming back?

    Preuve pour M. Lisée: L'équipe est parti du stade olympique en 2004. Voyons. J'étais au stade olympique hier et je le serais encore ce soir... mais même avec tout sorte de rénovation, le stade ne serait jamais un stade de baseball mode 2018, 100% impossible. Il n'y a pas de discussions à avoir.
  6. This is my view as well. The stadium was to be located close to the existing CN route. I would suspect that nothing precludes a stadium from being built there regardless of whether a station is directly under/adjacent to the stadium. We have a tendency in Montreal to think that transit needs to be underground/connected to buildings, however if it's a 5 min walk to Griffintown station, in my view that changes nothing with regards to viability/convenience. Also agree that the REM was not a must for a stadium. My concern was more if the elevated REM route would have made it impossible to build on the land envisioned for a ballpark.
  7. Aside from the La Presse article which stated that the baseball stadium project was "dead" following the election of Plante (which I believe is a simplistic statement, given there are investors with significant time/cash invested in the project already), does the new route for the REM render the proposed Peel Basin ballpark impossible? Or would there still be a way to integrate a stadium into the area there? I am having trouble determining this from the map.
  8. This will be a beautiful way for people to walk from the downtown core to the eventual ballpark in Griffintown/Bassin Peel!
  9. Exposteve

    Laurentian Bank HQ slowly moving to Toronto....

    As someone who works in this industry (albeit not at Laurentian Bank) I believe the article is somewhat misleading. LB is growing its national presence across Canada in an effort to diversify outside of Quebec and it's normal that a lot of attention is being paid to Toronto. The vast majority of decision making, to my knowledge, occurs in Montreal including the largest-growing section of the bank which is their LBC (Laurentian Bank Capital) division.
  10. Is there any plan to repave the 40 east between Pont Iles-aux-tourtes and St-Charles in Kirkland? The westbound side was completed two years ago and we had been advised at the time that the east-bound side would be done the following year. However it still looks like a job site, temporary overhead wires and lights. The 40-east on that stretch is dangerous at this point with uneven lanes/pavement and so many holes. Not only is it dangerous, but it's ugly as well given the temporary wires and lights and concrete blocks all over, despite this being one of the busiest stretches of highway in Greater Montreal, a primary entry point from any point west of Montreal. Many of the on-ramps/off-ramps are even worse than the highway itself. Here it says that the project had an initial deadline of March 2017 and was completed in December 2014. However, they only did one direction. Grands chantiers - Transports Quebec
  11. Air Canada Increases Israel Service with a New Non-Stop Route from Montreal and Daily Flights from Toronto - Feb 13, 2017 MONTREAL, Feb. 13, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Air Canada announced today a significant expansion in services between Canada and Israel, with the introduction of a seasonal non-stop service between Montreal and Tel Aviv and an increase in its current Toronto-Tel Aviv non-stop service to a daily frequency year-round. With the new services beginning this summer – a 28 per cent capacity increase over summer 2016 – Air Canada will be the airline offering the most seats and frequencies between Canada and Israel. "Air Canada is the leader in the Canada-Israel market, which we have now served for 22 years. Today we are pleased to step up our capacity in response to the increased demand in business, leisure and cultural travel between both countries. As of June 2017, Air Canada will be launching a new seasonal non-stop service between Montreal and Tel Aviv, strengthening our hub in Montreal, which will also offer convenient connections throughout Canada and the U.S.," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive of Air Canada. "This new service also reflects Air Canada's ongoing international expansion strategy, from which Montreal is deriving significant benefits. This month Air Canada will launch new service to Shanghai from the city and for next summer we have already announced new routes to Algiers, Marseille, Reykjavík and Dallas from Montreal," said Mr. Rovinescu. "In the same week as the inauguration of a non-stop Air Canada service to Shanghai, it is with pride today that we welcome a new international link with Tel Aviv. This important investment demonstrates the vitality of our city and Montreal's relevance as a North American aviation hub. This new air link by Air Canada will facilitate travel and trade between our two cities and countries. Coming only a few months after Montreal's trade mission to Israel, this new route is a concrete example of the strength of the economic, family and community ties that unite us," said Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal. Toronto's current service will increase this summer to daily from six days a week while the new Montreal-Tel Aviv service will operate twice weekly from June 22 to October 16, 2017. The Montreal flight will be operated with a 292-seat Airbus A330-300 aircraft with three cabins of service, including Air Canada's International Business Class cabin, featuring 27 Executive Pods with 180- degree lie-flat seats all configured for direct aisle access. The Premium Economy cabin has 21 seats that offer generous personal space, wider seats and extra legroom and recline, as well as premium meals, complimentary bar service and priority check-in and baggage delivery at the airport. The Economy cabin has 244 seats providing comfortable personal space and a state-of-the-art individual on-demand entertainment system. All flights are timed for convenient connections with Air Canada's extensive domestic and transborder network. Tickets for the new Montreal-Tel Aviv service will be available for sale beginning Wednesday, February 15, 2017, subject to final government approval. * Flight Departs Arrives Day of Week AC082 Montreal 18:35 Tel Aviv 12:15 + 1 day Thursday, Sunday AC083 Tel Aviv 13:55 Montreal 18:20 Monday, Friday *
  12. C'est faux. Il y a plusieurs batisse au nord de la 40 dans le secteur Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. Juste au nord du Chemin Ste-Marie. MDA, Specialized, Schuler Systems, Bitzer Canada, Bionetix International. En fait il y a un parc industriel au complet (dont il y a plusieurs espaces à louer, mais aussi plusieurs entreprises).
  13. What amazing news! *Daily year-round service right out of the gate, too. Will be a nice bonus to see a 787 at YUL. Proud of AC and YUL for this! *Will be a nice boost to our economy and tourism potential. *
  14. I really hope this is a new route announcement (PVG) although I know the many challenges associated with slots. PEK going daily would be nice as well, however that doesn't seem to be "major announcement/press conference" worthy. Looking forward to tomorrow!
  15. And let's not forget that these stations will also indirectly serve the sizeable off-island populations in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Ile-Perrot, Pincourt, etc. who will park/ride from Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. Additionally, there is significant industrial development potential in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue just north of Autoroute 40 near Rue Morgan... the south side of the 40 is already well built up with an industrial park, but there's a lot of potential for the north side. Having a REM that can allow passengers from all over the island to reach that area will make it more competitive compared to lower-cost land options in, say, Vaudreuil, south shore, north shore... so this is a win for the island of Montreal IMO.