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Found 100 results

  1. Enjoy! Compliments of: Le Triomphe, Montreal, scale 1:87 *************************************************** CITÉ NATURE, Montréal, scale 1:87 ********************************************** DOWNTOWN MONTRÉAL, scale 1:1000 Some buildings in green...maybe some day they will rise.
  2. Interesting article: http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/09/09/can-quebecs-church-based-curse-words-survive-in-a-secular-age/
  3. http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/sale+city+buildings+prime+spots/5275338/story.html By Allison Lampert, The Gazette August 18, 2011 10:08 PM The former H.L. Blachford Ltd. manufacturing building at 977 Lucien L'Allier St. was purchased for $6.8 million in 2000 MONTREAL - The real-estate arm of the city of Montreal is poised to sell two buildings in prime downtown locations that have been sitting half-empty for years, The Gazette has learned. The two buildings, located near the Bell Centre, are among hundreds of thousands of square feet of downtown Montreal real estate that has recently changed hands – or is to be sold off – for new office and residential projects, at a time when land prices have reached all-time highs. The buildings, which are to be put up for tenders this year by the Société d’habitation et de développement de Montréal, are located on sites originally destined for the third phase of Quebec’s ill-fated E-Commerce Place. Quebec’s Department of Finance mandated the SHDM to manage the buildings it bought for close to $7.9 million in 2000. “We want to put them for sale by the end of the year,” said Carl Bond, director of real estate management for the SHDM, a paramunicipal organization that owns and manages affordable housing units, along with several commercial buildings. “Those buildings will be sold, but we need an authorization from the (Department) of Finance.” Located at 977 Lucien l’Allier, and 1000-1006 de la Montagne St., south of René Lévesque Blvd., the buildings were initially slated to be demolished to make way for gleaming office towers. They were to be the last part of the 3-million-square foot Parti Québécois-supported project that was later scrapped by the Liberal government in 2003. The 24,000-square-foot site north of the Lucien l’Allier métro station was purchased from manufacturer H.L. Blachford Ltd. for $6.8 million in 2000 – far above the building’s 2011 municipal evaluation of $4.5 million. The disparity between the sales price and the current evaluation, an SHDM spokesperson explained, is because the land was to be used for a lucrative office tower, worth far more than a four-storey manufacturing plant. The two buildings have taken a long time to come to market. That’s because Blachford had a lease at the building until this spring when it ceased operations, Bond said. A travel agency is still operating at the building on de la Montagne, part of which is in a decrepit state. What’s more, the SHDM is now embroiled in legal talks with Blachford over the cost of cleaning up the building, which is contaminated. “Right now the lawyers are talking and we’re hoping to settle this out of court,” Bond said. But some commercial brokers say the SHDM lucked out in waiting. The buildings, they said, would be ideal for residential development at a time when new condos are being constructed in record numbers and downtown land is selling at a premium. “In terms of timing, it’s better to go to the market today,” said Louis Burgos, senior managing director, Cushman & Wakefield, Montreal. Today, land in the downtown area is being sold for $250 to $350 per square foot, brokers say, depending on the level of building density, or how much can be developed overall on the site. The SHDM’s two buildings won’t be coming to market alone. Another three sites have either traded hands, or are to come to market this year for the purpose of development. In late July, a site of Overdale Ave., an estimated 140,000-square-foot plot on the south side of René Lévesque Blvd, beside Bishop St., was sold by a company based out of a Sherbrooke St. West art gallery run by director Robert Landau for $28 million, provincial records show. The buyer is a numbered company owned by investor Kheng Li, who is a partner of E. Khoury Construction Inc. A worker at Khoury who didn’t want to be identified, said the site could be used for either residential or office development. And in April, Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. announced a $400 million investment for an office and three condo towers to be built near the Bell Centre, on Saint Antoine and de la Montagne Sts. Yet a fifth land site near the Bell Centre is to be put on the market next week, The Gazette has learned. The price these sites will fetch will depend on a combination of zoning and market demand. The red-tape Montreal developers have historically faced in obtaining zoning changes to built higher — and more economically viable buildings — may be easier to deal with if the seller is a city agency, brokers say. [email protected] http://www.twitter.com/RealDealMtl Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/sale+city+buildings+prime+spots/5275338/story.html#ixzz1VRFi0FYh
  4. Avec quelques commentaires architecturaux pour vous tous. Source: Dallas News “This,” says Martin Robitaille, “is the Old Sulpician Seminary. It dates to 1685 and is the oldest building still standing in Old Montreal. And this,” he goes on, sweeping his hand at a building across the street from the seminary, “is Mistake No. 1.” The more formal name of the latter edifice is the National Bank of Canada Tower. It was finished in 1967 and is done in the International Style: 52 concrete pillars rising 32 stories, covered in black granite, framing black-tinted windows. “Its elegant, sober appearance was intended to harmonize with the rest of the historical quarter of Old Montreal,” according to a panel in the nearby Centre d’histoire de Montréal museum, but many, including Robitaille, think it most certainly does not. Robitaille could be considered biased: He’s a professional tour guide, and his beat today is the section of Montreal just north of the St. Lawrence River, roughly a dozen blocks long and three blocks wide, that is the city’s historic center. The quarter’s small, crooked streets are filled by handsome buildings of dressed limestone, some somberly Scottish and plain, some effusively Italian, with intricate carvings and terra cotta ornamentation. Stand at any of a dozen intersections — Sainte-Hélène and des Récollets is a good example — and you are transported, architecturally at least, back in time. Which is why Robitaille finds the incursion of something in the International Style so grating. It really ruins the mood. His tour begins at Place d’Armes, in the shadow of a statue of one of the people who founded the city in 1642, Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve. “They came here to convert the natives,” Robitaille says. “Not so successful. After about 20 years, it became a commercial center. The fur trade.” As European demand for fur grew, so did Montreal. Its success as the funneling point of pelts from Canada’s vast forests to the Continent made it the obvious spot to locate head offices when settlers began to pour into the west. “The Golden Age was from 1850 to 1930,” Robitaille says. “That’s when Montreal was at its best.” And that’s when most of the buildings in Old Montreal were constructed. Robitaille’s tour takes us along Rue Saint-Jacques, once the heart of Montreal’s — and Canada’s — financial district. At the corner of Rue Saint-Pierre he points out four bank buildings, two of which, the CIBC and the Royal, still perform their original function. The Royal’s banking hall, built in 1928, is “a temple of money,” our guide says: soaring stone, coffered ceiling, echoing and imperious. The other two banks have been turned into high-end boutique hotels . LHotel is the plaything of Guess Jeans co-founder Georges Marciano. Marciano has sprinkled its lobby and hallways with $50 million worth of art from his private collection, including works by Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Miró, Robert Rauschenberg , Marc Chagall, David Hockney, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol. Across the road, the former Merchants Bank is now the St. James, “considered the most luxurious hotel in town,” says Robitaille. The top floor is where folks like Elton John, U2 and the Rolling Stones stay when they’re in town. We twist and turn through Old Montreal’s narrow streets. Hidden away at 221 Saint-Sacrement is one of the few old houses left, three stories, solid stone. Today, it houses offices. “Most of the architecture surrounding us is commercial, not residential,” Robitaille says. The banks were the most lavish in design, but the warehouses, many now renovated as condominiums, were nearly as spectacular. When Robitaille was a child, his parents never brought him to Old Montreal. Then, as now, it was a bit cut off from the present-day downtown, further north, by the auto route Ville-Marie. After the banks decamped in the 1960s, Old Montreal spent the next several decades in decay. At one point, much of it was to be torn down for yet another freeway. A slow-swelling preservation movement finally gained traction in 1978 when the grain elevators blocking the view of the St. Lawrence River were demolished and a riverside walk opened. Over the next three decades, investors began to see the value in resuscitating the neighborhood. Now, more than 5,000 people call Old Montreal home, living mainly in converted warehouses. Restaurants, cafes, small hotels and plenty of art and clothing stores keep the area bustling. A tour like Robitaille’s is a fine way to be introduced to Old Montreal. For those who want to know more, two museums, the Centre d’histoire de Montréal, in a 1903 fire hall next to Place d’Youville (the site of the two Canadas’ parliament until rioters torched it in 1849), and the Pointe-à-Callière Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History, are the places to go. In the basement of the latter are the ruins of buildings that previously stood on the site, along with part of the tunnel that Little Saint-Pierre River once ran through and the city’s first graveyard, filled largely with the bodies of those killed by Iroquois attacks in the settlement’s earliest days. For those who prefer to strike out on their own, Discover Old Montreal, a well-illustrated booklet published by the provincial government, provides a detailed self-guided walking tour and is for sale in both museums. For those who just want to soak in the ambience, the simplest thing is to start in Place Jacques Cartier and stroll first east and then west along Rue Saint-Paul, Montreal’s oldest street. (Its rough paving stones make comfortable walking shoes a necessity.) Robitaille’s final stop is at the Château Ramezay. Built in 1705 as a home for the governor of Montreal, it served several other purposes through the years, including sheltering Benjamin Franklin in 1776, before it became a museum in 1895. “It’s one of only six buildings from the French period, before 1763, still standing,” says our guide. A block away is the modern courthouse complex, finished in 1971 and designed by the same people who did the National Bank tower. “That,” says Robitaille with a final flourish, “is Mistake No. 2.” And so Old Montreal comes to an end.
  5. http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/04/15/fashion/20120415-FORAGING.html For decades, period architecture and pristine cobblestone streets have kept Old Montreal well trodden by tourists. But this gracious waterfront area, dating back centuries, is regaining cachet with locals, and high-end retail has followed. A western stretch of narrow Rue St. Paul, where souvenir shops once hawked Québécois kitsch, has become an unlikely hub for high fashion. Huge picture windows in restored stone buildings now showcase of-the-moment looks to rival the hippest that New York or Paris have to offer — all with an insouciant Montreal twist. — MICHAEL KAMINER Credit: Yannick Grandmont for The New York Times
  6. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/9133399/Paris-to-trump-Londons-Shard-with-Europes-tallest-buildings.html Paris to trump London's Shard with Europe's tallest buildings The two skyscrapers will 40ft taller than the Shard, which is currently under construction in the British capital. Planning permission for the French project called Hermitage Plaza - designed by British artchitects Foster and Partners - was granted by Paris officials this week. The two buildings - which will house offices, luxury apartments, a shopping complex and a hotel - will dominate the skyline in the western business district of La Defense. Work began on the Shard at London Bridge in February 2009 and it is already Europe's highest construction project at a cost so far of around £450 million. The 87-storey building is due for completion in May this year, when it will stand at 1,017 feet tall and offer uninterrupted 360-degree views of London for 40 miles in every direction.
  7. The American Institute of Architects recently turned 150 and to celebrate they decided to put together a list of 150 favorite American buildings (do they know how to party or what?). Click forward to see which buildings made the top ten (you can see if any of your other personal favorites made the list here: http://www.favoritearchitecture.org/afa150.php
  8. Downturn Ends Building Boom in New York Charles Blaichman, at an unfinished tower at West 14th Street, is struggling to finance three proposed hotels by the High Line. NYtimes By CHRISTINE HAUGHNEY Published: January 07, 2009 Nearly $5 billion in development projects in New York City have been delayed or canceled because of the economic crisis, an extraordinary body blow to an industry that last year provided 130,000 unionized jobs, according to numbers tracked by a local trade group. The setbacks for development — perhaps the single greatest economic force in the city over the last two decades — are likely to mean, in the words of one researcher, that the landscape of New York will be virtually unchanged for two years. “There’s no way to finance a project,” said the researcher, Stephen R. Blank of the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit group. Charles Blaichman is not about to argue with that assessment. Looking south from the eighth floor of a half-finished office tower on 14th Street on a recent day, Mr. Blaichman pointed to buildings he had developed in the meatpacking district. But when he turned north to the blocks along the High Line, once among the most sought-after areas for development, he surveyed a landscape of frustration: the planned sites of three luxury hotels, all stalled by recession. Several indicators show that developers nationwide have also been affected by the tighter lending markets. The growth rate for construction and land development loans shrunk drastically this year — to 0.08 percent through September, compared with 11.3 percent for all of 2007 and 25.7 percent in 2006, according to data tracked by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. And developers who have loans are missing payments. The percentage of loans in default nationwide jumped to 7.3 percent through September 2008, compared with 1 percent in 2007, according to data tracked by Reis Inc., a New York-based real estate research company. New York’s development world is rife with such stories as developers who have been busy for years are killing projects or scrambling to avoid default because of the credit crunch. Mr. Blaichman, who has built two dozen projects in the past 20 years, is struggling to borrow money: $370 million for the three hotels, which include a venture with Jay-Z, the hip-hop mogul. A year ago, it would have seemed a reasonable amount for Mr. Blaichman. Not now. “Even the banks who want to give us money can’t,” he said. The long-term impact is potentially immense, experts said. Construction generated more than $30 billion in economic activity in New York last year, said Louis J. Coletti, the chief executive of the Building Trades Employers’ Association. The $5 billion in canceled or delayed projects tracked by Mr. Coletti’s association include all types of construction: luxury high-rise buildings, office renovations for major banks and new hospital wings. Mr. Coletti’s association, which represents 27 contractor groups, is talking to the trade unions about accepting wage cuts or freezes. So far there is no deal. Not surprisingly, unemployment in the construction industry is soaring: in October, it was up by more than 50 percent from the same period last year, labor statistics show. Experience does not seem to matter. Over the past 15 years, Josh Guberman, 48, developed 28 condo buildings in Brooklyn and Manhattan, many of them purchased by well-paid bankers. He is cutting back to one project in 2009. Donald Capoccia, 53, who has built roughly 4,500 condos and moderate-income housing units in all five boroughs, took the day after Thanksgiving off, for the first time in 20 years, because business was so slow. He is shifting his attention to projects like housing for the elderly on Staten Island, which the government seems willing to finance. Some of their better known and even wealthier counterparts are facing the same problems. In August, Deutsche Bank started foreclosure proceedings against William S. Macklowe over his planned project at the former Drake Hotel on Park Avenue. Kent M. Swig, Mr. Macklowe’s brother-in-law, recently shut down the sales office for a condo tower planned for 25 Broad Street after his lender, Lehman Brothers, declared bankruptcy in September. Several commercial and residential brokers said they were spending nearly half their days advising developers who are trying to find new uses for sites they fear will not be profitable. “That rug has been pulled out from under their feet,” said David Johnson, a real estate broker with Eastern Consolidated who was involved with selling the site for the proposed hotel to Mr. Blaichman, Jay-Z and their business partners for $66 million, which included the property and adjoining air rights. Mr. Johnson said that because many banks are not lending, the only option for many developers is to take on debt from less traditional lenders like foreign investors or private equity firms that charge interest rates as high as 20 percent. That doesn’t mean that all construction in New York will grind to a halt immediately. Mr. Guberman is moving forward with one condo tower at 87th Street and Broadway that awaits approval for a loan; he expects it will attract buyers even in a slowing economy. Mr. Capoccia is trying to finish selling units at a Downtown Brooklyn condominium project, and is slowly moving ahead on applying for permits for an East Village project. Mr. Blaichman, 54, is keeping busy with four buildings financed before the slowdown. He has found fashion and advertising firms to rent space in his tower at 450 West 14th Street and buyers for two downtown condo buildings. He recently rented a Lower East Side building to the School of Visual Arts as a dorm. Mr. Blaichman had success in Greenwich Village and the meatpacking district, where he developed the private club SoHo House, the restaurant Spice Market and the Theory store. He had similar hopes for the area along the High Line, where he bought properties last year when they were fetching record prices. An art collector, he considered the area destined for growth because of its many galleries and its proximity to the park being built on elevated railroad tracks that have given the area its name. The park, which extends 1.45 miles from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street, is expected to be completed in the spring. Other developers have shown that buyers will pay high prices to be in the area. Condo projects designed by well-known architects like Jean Nouvel and Annabelle Selldorf have been eagerly anticipated. In recent months, buyers have paid $2 million for a two-bedroom unit and $3 million for a three-bedroom at Ms. Selldorf’s project, according to Streeteasy.com, a real estate Web site. “It’s one of the greatest stretches of undeveloped areas,” Mr. Blaichman said. “I still think it’s going to take off.” In August 2007, Mr. Blaichman bought the site and air rights of a former Time Warner Cable warehouse. He thought the neighborhood needed its first full-service five-star hotel, in contrast to the many boutique hotels sprouting up downtown. So with his partners, Jay-Z and Abram and Scott Shnay, he envisioned a hotel with a pool, gym, spa and multiple restaurants under a brand called J Hotels. But since his mortgage brokers started shopping in late summer for roughly $200 million in financing, they have only one serious prospect for a lender. For now, he is seeking an extension on the mortgage — monthly payments are to begin in the coming months — and trying to rent the warehouse. (He currently has no income from the property.) It is perhaps small comfort that his fellow developers are having as many problems getting loans. Shaya Boymelgreen had banks “pull back” recently on financing for a 107-unit rental tower the developer is building at 500 West 23rd Street, according to Sara Mirski, managing director of development for Boymelgreen Developers. The half-finished project looked abandoned on two recent visits, but Ms. Mirski said that construction will continue. Banks have “invited” the developer to reapply for a loan next year and have offered interim bridge loans for up to $30 million. Mr. Blaichman cuts a more mellow figure than many other developers do. He avoids the real estate social scene, tries to turn his cellphone off after 6 p.m. and plays folk guitar in his spare time. For now, Mr. Blaichman seems stoic about his plight. At a diner, he polished off a Swiss-cheese omelet and calmly noted that he had no near-term way to pay off his debts. He exercises several times a week and tells his three children to curb their shopping even as he regularly presses his mortgage bankers for answers. “I sleep pretty well,” Mr. Blaichman said. “There’s nothing you can do in the middle of the night that will help your projects.” But even when the lending market improves — in months, or years — restarting large-scale projects will not be a quick process. A freeze in development, in fact, could continue well after the recession ends. Mr. Blank of the Urban Land Institute said he has taken to giving the following advice to real estate executives: “We told them to take up golf.” Correction: An article on Saturday about the end of the building boom in New York City referred incorrectly to the family relationship between the developers William S. Macklowe, whose planned project at the former Drake Hotel is in foreclosure, and Kent M. Swig, who shut down the sales office for a condominium tower on Broad Street after his lender, Lehman Brothers, declared bankruptcy. Mr. Swig is Mr. Macklowe’s brother-in-law, not his son-in-law.
  9. Je sais que c'est un peu stupide rendu à ce point, mais quand même, c'est du Porno pour les fan de buildings Cliquez ici. Burj Dubai
  10. For some reason yesterday I was thinking about what if PVM was one or two buildings it would be one of the tallest buildings on the planet, if the city did not have height restrictions. Seeing PVM is like 4 towers + the middle connecting everything together, just to make one. Each tower has 46 floors (188 meters). It would be like 230 floors (with the middle part connecting everything). If it was like 1 tower it be 940 meters. It would be bigger than both: Petronas Tower put together (though it would still have about 1/2 the amount of sq.ft). If it was two towers each one would be like 470 meters and it if was divided into 3 towers smaller towers of 313 meters. Something to think about.
  11. http://www.citylab.com/navigator/2015/02/play-god-with-this-customizable-miniature-city/385054/?utm_source=SFFB NAVIGATOR Play God With This Customizable Miniature City The 3D-printed buildings are based on architecture in New York, Chicago, and elsewhere, and can glow at night. JOHN METCALFE @citycalfe 7:00 AM ET Comments Image Ittyblox Ittyblox Perfect for the urban-planning wonk who wants to build a personal city—or the destructive child who'd like to stomp one to bits—are these tiny, customizable dioramas, which include skyscrapers that can be hacked to glow in the dark. The adult toys, called Ittyblox, are 3D-printed by the New York/Netherlands company Shapeways, and include a variety of constituent pieces. There's this glassy, jet-black Chicago office tower, for instance, and also a cute clump of New York townhouses. Each one has a different footprint, so arranging them to fit the baseplate might require a bit of "Tetris" skill. But don't worry about troublesome zoning issues—you're the god of this Twilight Zone civilization. At least some pieces, like the 1:1000-scale Guggenheim Museum and Tudor City building, are based on real-life structures. And all are cut with fantastic detail. Here's the product description for that Chicago tower: "Because some offices have their sun shades down, there is a variation in window color. The rooftop is detailed with a few air conditioning units." The blocks range from $6 to $93, with multibuilding sets accounting for the more expensive prices; add in $20 for the baseplate plus shipping. Making the buildings glow requires work, though it's probably worth it to the hardcore model fan; some of the windows are cut out and will become illuminated if underlit with an LED. Check out this guide for detailed instructions. sent via Tapatalk
  12. Une grosse mise à jour sur le site skyscraperpage.com, concernant les diagrams pour Montreal. ( nouveaux dessins et ajouts de buildings ) link : http://skyscraperpage.com/diagrams/?cityID=22
  13. Proposed: Current: NOTE: This is a Karsten Rumpf project announced back in JUNE 2011 with little to no indication that any work started. Since he is currently active with the Bishop Court condo conversion, I figured this project would be worth posting here. But this thread probably belongs to "projects oublie" for now.
  14. Awesome PDF booklet from June 2010 with in-depth analysis on Magog's finest and oldest buildings (late 1800s to early 1900s). More info.
  15. Courtesy of Visit Oslo Oslo a great city. I just got back from there. You at least need 2 days there. One thing is for sure, the new museum will be a great addition to all the modern buildings that are there now.
  16. Un projet de 8 étages qui se trame pour le coin St-Marc / Sainte-Catherine http://www.lobby.gouv.qc.ca/servicespublic/consultation/AfficherInscription.aspx?NumeroInscription=AuLgd7373tZ2xfT9K5fg1Q%3d%3d#D53621 Le site:
  17. Square Dealing: Changes could be afoot at the iconic Westmount Square BY EVA FRIEDE, MONTREAL GAZETTE OCTOBER 10, 2014 2:16 PM Investor Olivier Leclerc outside Westmount Square, who has purchased 84 units in the complex for $70 million. Photograph by: John Mahoney , Montreal Gazette An investor has bought 84 rental units at Westmount Square for $70 million, and says that less than two months after the sale, he has already resold at least 48 of the apartments. Olivier Leclerc, 26, acting with real estate broker and adviser Albert Sayegh, bought the units at the iconic Mies van der Rohe buildings in August from Elad Canada, a division of the Israeli real estate multinational Tshuva Group. The deal means that Elad has sold all of the approximately 220 units in the two residential towers of Westmount Square. Now it is proposing to convert Tower 1, with 200,000 square feet of office space, to condos. But Westmount has slapped a freeze on all conversions from commercial or institutional buildings to residential use and is studying all development in its southeast commercial sector, from Atwater to Greene Avenues. The freeze is in effect until an interim bylaw is adopted and an update on the study is expected in November, said Westmount councillor Theodora Samiotis. Samiotis, who is the commissioner of urban planning for Westmount, said there are two concerns about such a conversion. First is Westmount Square’s heritage value as a Mies van der Rohe mixed commercial-residential project, completed in 1967. “On a heritage value, obviously we would want to make sure that any architectural aspect of the design would respect that,” she said. And there are those who would argue that changing the usage combination would change the architect’s vision, she said. The complex was conceived with three towers — two residential and one office — and an 86,000-square-foot shopping concourse. Equally important to Samiotis is the commercial vibrancy of the area. “So when you tell me you are changing a commercial tower to a residential tower, I am concerned about the impact this is going to have on my commercial district,” she said. Residential tax rates are lower than commercial rates, so the city also could lose revenue. “It’s not just the conversion of any building. It’s a landmark,” she said. They are very much aware of the proposal to convert the office tower, Sayegh said, but the file is currently closed. “If Tower 1 does occur, we will look at it,” he said. Elad Canada owns, operates or is developing such properties as New York’s Plaza Hotel, Emerald City in Toronto and in Montreal, the Cité Nature development near the Olympic Village and Le Nordelac in Point St-Charles. The 84 Westmount Square units were the remaining rental units in two of the towers. In a meeting at Sayegh’s real estate office — he is president of the commercial division of RE/MAX Du Cartier on Bernard St. W. — Leclerc said he bought the apartments in August as an investment, and resold them to various groups of investors, two of which bought about 12 apartments each. Leclerc would not specify how many of the apartments he intends to keep. It is a significant sale, probably the biggest of the year, said Patrice Ménard of Patrice Ménard Multi-Logement, which specializes in sales of multi-unit residential buildings. But it is not a record. By comparison, the La Cité complex of three buildings with more than 1,300 units sold for $172 million two years ago. Also in 2012, Elad sold the Olympic Village to Capreit Real Estate Investment Trust for about $176 million, Ménard said. Both La Cité and the Olympic Village remain rental properties, however. Both Sayegh and Leclerc emphasized that confidence in the economy was a basis for the Westmount Square purchase. The reselling was not a flip, but a long-term strategy, Sayegh said. “He has his own chess game,” Sayegh said. “The context was favourable to take hold of such a prestigious building — the political context,” Leclerc said. “The socio-economic climate in Quebec has never been as conducive to investments as it is today,” Sayegh added. Leclerc would not say what profit he has taken so far, nor what return he is expecting. “It’s a nice acquisition to my portfolio,” Leclerc said. He also owns or has converted buildings in Mont St-Hilaire and Brossard as well as Hampstead Court on Queen Mary, bought in 2011 and now all sold. Four years ago, Leclerc joined his father, Ghislain, in the business of converting rental buildings to co-operatives. Over 25 years, he and his father have converted more than 2,500 apartments, he said. His father is now semi-retired. With his father, he also worked on the conversion of the Gleneagles apartments on Côte des Neiges Rd., bought in 2010 and sold by 2013. “We do major work. We put the building in top shape,” Leclerc said. “Then we make esthetic improvements. After that, we sell the apartments. “We never throw out the tenants. We profit from the fact that the tenants are in place, who pay rent ‘x’ for an apartment in the state it is in. “We respect the rental laws.” Leclerc said he buys only good buildings in good locations. “The area reflects the tenants. Location, location, location.” At Westmount Square, the tenants are not affected, Leclerc said, as the same company, Cogir, manages the building. The range of price for the 84 apartments was $400,000 to $2 million. [email protected] Twitter: @evitastyle
  18. very depressing. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/69d8aefa-95a7-11e4-a390-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3RFvv7YUu The Fast Lane: A premier city now second among equals Tyler BruleTyler Brûlé Montreal was Canada’s leading lady. The view last Saturday couldn’t have been more different S econd cities are always curious affairs. Often chippy, occasionally unassuming and always striving to be that little bit more distinct, quirky or boisterous than the comfy cousin who holds premier status on the international stage. Melbourne likes to trade on its Europeaness, seasons and liveability compared with Sydney’s beaches and overused Opera House. Residents of Osaka are loud and good-humoured, while Tokyoites are seen as too precious and concerned with protocol. Mancunians need to remind you of their industrial glory days, football teams and increasingly well-connected airport versus the gridlock of London. Second cities that used to hold the number one position are even stranger, particularly when their fall has been largely of their own making. Last weekend I returned to Montreal for the first time in about four years and the drive from the airport to downtown was a bittersweet journey along a route that used to dazzle in the early 1970s. Back then, the low-slung offices and factories lining the highway into the city carried the names of global brands and Canada’s industrial powerhouses. Downtown, skyscrapers and buildings from the turn of the 20th century carried the brass plaques of important banks and insurance companies. Montreal was Canada’s leading lady, the young nation’s port of first impressions. It had hosted a World Expo in 1967 and was about to run up a shameful debt in the form of the 1976 Summer Olympics. The view last Saturday couldn’t have been more different. Rather than the familiar logos, the words that dominated every other façade, in a variety of pleading fonts, was “à louer” (to rent), and these signs stretched from the perimeter fence of the airport all the way to the buildings around my hotel on the once elegant Sherbrooke Street. A plague of rental and for sale signs is generally a good indicator that things are not going quite to plan, whereas a skyline dotted with cranes and scaffolding (in Canada’s case, Toronto), suggests the opposite. Derelict office buildings and boarded-up restaurants aside, many would argue it’s all gone to plan, and Montreal has become a shining light of diversity and French culture in an otherwise Anglo continent. Businesses must answer the phone in French first; multinationals must spend tens of millions reimagining their brands in order not to fall foul of the province’s language police (Starbucks Coffee must have the prefix Café, should people miss what it does. This isn’t the case even in France); and then there are all the other quirky laws that ensure the province of Quebec maintains its special status at vast expense while its infrastructure is crumbling. When Quebec passed its radical language laws in the 1970s and hundreds of thousands of long-time residents headed for the Ontario border, there were many who thought this heavy-handed attempt at language preservation wouldn’t last. Yet Canada’s number two city continues to suffer a serious brain-drain, and even young francophones are becoming vocal about the province’s outmoded world view. For the moment Montreal remains an interesting place because a depressed economy allows creativity to flourish (think Berlin) as low rents mean it’s easier to try out a new retail concept or launch a restaurant. Having done two tours of duty in Montreal (1972-77 and 1980-83), I enjoyed the positive friction that came from Anglo-French sparring and the cosmopolitan flavour it cast over the city. More than 30 years later, the whole concept of language “rules” in an increasingly mobile world is simply unproductive. A recent piece in a Montreal daily politely argued that the city’s problems were related to manufacturing moving overseas and poorly integrated logistics while failing to even aim a dart at the elephant in the room. Multilingualism is a fine concept but it should not be imposed upon long-time residents, new arrivals or businesses seeking to invest — particularly when in Canada there’s another, more widely spoken language.
  19. Could the era of glass skyscrapers be over? One of the architects behind London's famous Gherkin skyscraper has now turned against glass buildings. Is it time tall towers were made out of something else, asks Hannah Sander. It is one of the UK's most recognisable buildings. A Stirling Prize winner. A backdrop to Hollywood films. Named the most admired tower in the world. But 10 years after it was opened, one of the designers behind the "Gherkin" has turned against it. Architect Ken Shuttleworth, one of the team at Foster and Partners who designed the tower, now thinks the gigantic glass structure was a mistake. "The Gherkin is a fantastic building," he says. "But we can't have that anymore. We can't have those all-glass buildings. We need to be much more responsible." The building at 30 St Mary Axe - nicknamed after a gherkin because of its bulbous silhouette - kick-started a decade of strangely shaped glass towers. The Cheesegrater, the Walkie-Talkie and the Shard loomed up from the pavements of London. The skylines of both Birmingham and Manchester were drastically altered by the addition of towers by property firm Beetham. One of the best-known glass building mishaps took place last summer, when the Walkie-Talkie at 20 Fenchurch Street in London was accused of melting cars. The 37-storey building reflected light in its glass facade and shone powerful rays at its surroundings. Cars parked underneath were damaged, and passers-by even managed to fry eggs using only sunlight. In the end the developers, Land Securities, had to apply for planning permission to obscure architect Rafael Vinoly's £200m design with a permanent "brise soleil" or sunshade. And yet despite this, Land Securities recently revealed that the widely reported calamity "did nothing to deter lettings". Glass buildings are popular - not just because of their striking appearance but for the views they boast, and the increased light they let in. When German architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe designed what is said to be the world's first glass skyscraper in 1921, he associated the glass facade with purity and renewal. Later in the century, British architect Richard Rogers praised glass buildings because of their social worth. Glass walls enabled even employees working in the basement to benefit from reflected natural light and dissolved barriers between a cramped indoor office space and the greenery outside. Companies like to give the impression of a democratic working environment - open-plan and with floor-to-ceiling windows, so that all employees, not just the boss, benefit from the view. However, as concerns over global warming have become more widespread, so the glass structure has come under scrutiny. Since leaving Foster and Partners in 2006, Shuttleworth has become a key voice in the fight against glass. Despite his background working on giant glazed buildings, he has founded an architectural practice in which floor-to-ceiling windows are considered an archaic luxury. "Everything I've done for the last 40 years I'm rethinking now," he says. "If you were designing [the Gherkin] today... it wouldn't be the same product all the way around the building. "We need to be much more responsible in terms of the way we shade our buildings and the way we thermally think about our buildings." Glass lets out and lets in a lot of heat. A vast amount of energy is required for an office full of people to remain cool in the UAE and to stay warm in the snowstorms of Toronto. Governments are now so concerned by the long-term impact of "solar gain" - the extent to which a building absorbs sunlight and heats up - that they have introduced strict regulations around shape and structure. Architects are being encouraged to change where they place windows, so that a sunny south-facing wall has less chance to absorb heat than a chilly north-face. Walkie-Talkie developers Land Securities are currently at work on a building called the ZigZag, that is designed so that alternate walls cast shadows on their neighbours. The building is deliberately shaped so it can keep itself cool. In the US there is a campaign in favour of wooden skyscrapers, promoting wood as a "green" building material in place of glass. However, the trade association Glass for Europe has dismissed what they consider "a preconceived idea" that glass is bad. Instead they point to sustainable buildings in which glass has been fashioned into corridors that don't require central heating and solar panels that have been slotted seamlessly into a design. The association also points out that glass is fully recyclable. "A whole palette of glass products is available for the glazing to meet different functions in the building envelope," the association said. "Glass is fit for all climates." In the past decades, the glass industry has worked hard to adapt technology in the context of climate change. Engineer Andrea Charlson is part of a team at firm Arup that seeks new ways to increase material sustainability. She is not convinced that the glass in glass buildings is the cause of their problems. "There have been a lot of advancements in glass technology in the last few years and it's amazing what we can do now in terms of putting coatings on glass. Some of them can be a heavy colour tint that will provide some shading. Others will be almost invisible but will still keep a lot of the heat and solar gain outside a building," she says. Charlson is currently investigating problems in the materials that hold the glazed panels on buildings in place. "As the glass technology improves, one of the biggest causes of heat loss is through the framing. The heat energy will always try to find the path of least resistance." Even with the improvements to glass technology, Shuttleworth is not convinced that these sheer skyscrapers can be justified in today's society. He is not only concerned by their environmental impact, but also with the other effects a glass tower has on its surroundings. Architecture and design critic Tom Dyckhoff is equally keen to see the glass skyscraper put to bed. "As someone who spends their entire life staring at buildings, I am a bit bored by the glass box. They were radical in the 1920s and now they are just cliches, expensive ones at that. "But now that we are having to be more thoughtful about how and where we use glass, maybe architects will become more inventive in how they use windows, instead of plastering them across whole facades," he says. Shuttleworth's most recent project began life as a solid steel object and he says it has glass only where it is needed. "It is a privilege to have a window. I think it should be seen as a privilege," he says. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27501938
  20. (CNN) -- For architecture buffs numbed by the ongoing global battle to crank out record-breaking tall buildings, here's something innovative to spark the imagination. The South Korean government has granted approval to begin construction on the world's first "invisible" tower. Designed by U.S.-based GDS Architects, the glass-encased Tower Infinity will top out at 450 meters (1,476 feet) and have the third highest observation deck in the world. The project is backed by Korea Land & Housing Corporation, a state-owned land and public housing developer. The invisibility illusion will be achieved with a high-tech LED facade system that uses a series of cameras that will send real-time images onto the building's reflective surface. It will be built just outside of Seoul near the Incheon International Airport. Neither the developer nor GDS have released a target completion date. The development will reportedly be used primarily for leisure activities. It will include a series of observation decks, a movie theater, roller coaster, water park and numerous food and beverage outlets. Though height isn't its main selling point, Tower Infinity is no slouch in the vertical department. When completed, it's expected to come in sixth on the list of the world's highest towers, behind Tokyo SkyTree, Guangzhou's CantonTower, Toronto's CN Tower, Moscow's Ostankino Tower and Shanghai's Oriental Pearl. Editor's note: The original version of this paragraph said Tower Infinity would be one of the world's tallest buildings, not towers. The error has been corrected. How it works Tower Infinity's invisible face is essentially just state of the art camouflage. Cameras will be placed at three different heights on six different sides of the building to capture real-time images of the surroundings; three other sections, each filled with 500 rows of LED screens, will project the individual digital images. Through digital processing, images will be scaled, rotated and merged to create a seamless panoramic image that appears on the LED rows to create the illusion of invisibility. In essence, whatever is going on behind the building will be projected onto the front of the building. According to GDS, managers will be able to alter the level of power used to give the building different levels of invisibility. "Instead of symbolizing prominence as another of the world's tallest and best towers, our solution aims to provide the world's first invisible tower, showcasing innovative Korean technology while encouraging a more global narrative in the process," said Charles Wee, GDS design principal, in a statement. In 2011 GDS, in collaboration with firms Samoo Architects and A&U, was awarded first prize in a National Design Competition sponsored by the Korea Land & Housing Corporation to provide design and engineering services for the observation tower. http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/12/travel/seoul-invisible-skyscraper-tower-infinity/index.html?hpt=hp_c4
  21. Amazing interactive map! I encourage all members to take a look :mtl: http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/montreal-375-buildings/
  22. http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2013/dec/30/ten-new-years-resolutions-for-architects-2014 Ten new year's resolutions for architects in 2014 Remember that buildings shouldn't burn things, windows should let in light and copying others is fine – but just try not to annoy the skateboarders <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-101b839c-7d6d-4e7a-b448-a5fd5be930f4" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">I shall not burn … the Walkie-Scorchie 'fryscraper' melted car parts and singed shop windows. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images</figcaption></figure> Don't melt things It might sound obvious, but it's usually good if your buildings don't actively attack their neighbours or melt passing vehicles with laser death rays. It is a lesson that has evaded Rafael Viñoly, purveyor of “fryscrapers” to London and Las Vegas, who seemingly can't resist channelling the powers of the sun into beams capable of singeing sun-loungers and scorching Jaguars. This year, if you find yourself designing a south-facing concave facade in a highly reflective material, maybe best think again. Or at least don't let “value engineers” remove the sunshades. Be nice to old buildings <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-21cdf4b3-61b7-4565-b340-7c733eae853a" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Parametric hat … Zaha Hadid's Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Photograph: Martin Godwin</figcaption></figure>They were there before you, and the chances are they're better made and more beautiful than anything you will be able to replace them with, so treat listed buildings nicely. Try to resist the urge to use them as ahatstand for your latest undulating parametric headpiece. Nor is it probably a good idea to rip off the back and use the front as a picturesque mask to distract people from your monstrous shed looming behind. If in doubt, the Stirling Prize-winning Astley Castle has some pointers. Don't stand for modern-day slavery <figure class="element element-video" data-canonical-url="http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2013/dec/22/abu-dhabi-migrant-workers-video" data-show-ads="true" data-video-id="2011826" data-video-name="The dark side of Abu Dhabi's cultural revolution – video" data-video-provider="guardian.co.uk" data-video-poster="http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/audio/video/2013/12/11/1386776622909/Saadiyat-island-off-the-c-001.jpg" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"> <figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">'Happiness Island' … Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi, home to iconic buildings by Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel and Norman Foster.</figcaption></figure>OK, it might be hard to turn it down when the Louvre asks you to build agigantic upturned colander on Abu Dhabi's pleasure island, or when Sheikh Zayed phones up asking for a museum in the shape of his prize falcon's wings. We all want our icons in the desert, but let's face it, your construction workers will probably do a better job if they're not living in squalor, 10 men to a room, trapped in labour camps with their passports confiscated, working for a year just to pay back their recruitment fees. Be nice to skateboarders <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-761d4c25-c7fd-4114-b65a-e9ecf0a991e9" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">South Bank skaters … as precious as bats and great crested newts when it comes to planning applications. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images</figcaption></figure>They might seem like an unsightly addition to your prize-winning public space, with their low-slung jeans and strangely oversized trainers, but, just like bats and great crested newts, skateboarders hold a lot of sway when it comes to planning applications. So treat them with respect. It's probably not a good idea to turn their hallowed Mecca into a themed retail experience, nor to rub salt in the wound by commissioning ageing has-beens to design an “as-found skate space” down the road. You'll be in for a long, tough ride if you do. Don't be ashamed of copying <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-f8a5308f-2b7c-4aad-ab10-498e7e572fc9" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Look familiar? … A copy of Zaha Hadid's Wangjing Soho building, under construction in Chongqing. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images</figcaption></figure>It's nice to imagine that every one of your designs is a genius idea channelled from the heavens, forged by a single hand in the white heat of the workshop, but that's not really how the design process works. The history of architecture and design is a history of copying, sampling and remixing, so why not celebrate the fact? After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as the Chinese continue to demonstrate, so go ahead and build an homage to your favourite architect – and make it a bit bigger than the original while you're at it. Design windows that let in light and views <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-d62c73a6-5ef4-4692-93f5-b4a18604dc5c" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Shadow gap … UCL's New Hall housing, 465 Caledonian Road, was declared the worst building of 2013. Photograph: Ellis Woodman/BD</figcaption></figure>A window, according to the OED, is a device used “to admit light or air and allow people to see out”. It is a definition best remembered when designing openings in buildings, but one that little concerned the architects of UCL's latest student accommodation block. The Carbuncle Cup-winning hulk on Pentonville Road houses cramped cell-like rooms that look directly out on to the blank brick wall of a retained Victorian facade, only one metre away. No matter – the planning inspector ruled the conditions were “unlikely to be perceived as overly oppressive by the occupiers”. They're only students after all. Bring fleeting joy <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-fb2bf44f-2f01-4e4c-a55e-aea58288bb3a" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Half packing crate, half temple … The Shed at the National Theatre. Photograph: Helene Binet</figcaption></figure>You might want your every creation to last forever, but some of the best things are good precisely because they disappear. The Shed at the National Theatre proved to be one such joyful fleeting visitor to the South Bank last summer, looking as if Lasdun's concrete fly-tower had leapt down and daubed itself with red face-paint to join the riverside fun. A simple timber box, it showed how the rambling concrete terraces of the Southbank Centre can be enlivened with nimble intervention – proving they don't really need to be smothered with giant glass containers of shops and restaurants. Don't ruin views <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-d41d6d76-28ee-4a9f-b72e-a9fd3e90479d" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">'Like building a skyscraper next to Stonehenge … Port Meadow before and after. Photograph: Save Port Meadow</figcaption></figure>This year, when presented with an idyllic pastoral site on the edge of a rolling expanse of millennium-old common land, fringed by the prospect of dreaming spires poking above the treetops, you might want to think twice before plonking an army of inflated toy-town houses down in the middle of it all. Such has been the effect of Oxford's new Castle Mill student housing development on the edge of Port Meadow, a group of bulky blocks that despoil the landscape and block the long-cherished view, in a move slammed by critics as like “building a skyscraper next to Stonehenge”. Kill-off your practice before it kills you <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-b17cb976-9f90-4f4a-bf3b-e3ef9db79ebb" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Die young … the Heerlijkheid Hoogvliet in Rotterdam, by FAT. Photograph: Maarten Laupman/FAT</figcaption></figure>Running out of work, on the brink of financial collapse and always coming runner-up in competitions? Why risk fading into obscurity and beckoning forth the debt-collectors, when you can go out with a stylish bang and break up your practice instead, boy-band style? A premature death guarantees teary-eyed obituaries, friendly missives from long-standing rivals and nostalgic reviews of your final projects. So bite the bullet before it bites you and go out early with a kamikaze boom. Design more yonic buildings <figure class="element element-image" data-media-id="gu-fc-a1fbdae8-1bf1-4086-8e2e-39e9d3ff72f3" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"><figcaption style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px 0px 10px; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 0.858em; line-height: 1.25; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">Yonic wonder … the Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar, by Zaha Hadid and AECOM. Image: AECOM</figcaption></figure>Architecture has always been a male-dominated profession, inevitably leading to a propensity for priapic forms. Our city skylines are brimming with teetering towers of phallic ambition, endlessly choked with competing monuments to the male member. But now Zaha Hadid has shown there can be another way. Her proposal for the Al-Wakrah World Cup stadium erupts from the Qatari desert in a great vulvic bulge, its roof framed by dynamic labial sweeps, in a magnificent demonstration that the vagina can be an equally noble form for a building – and ushering in 2014 as the year of the yonic.
  23. MONTREAL - When James Essaris looks out over his flat concrete kingdom of 20 downtown parking lots that he started collecting in 1956, he sees a precious urban resource where others see ugliness. The much-maligned parking lot, long considered an urban eyesore and enemy of public transit, is becoming an increasingly rare feature on the downtown streetscape. Essaris, longtime owner of Stationnement Métropolitain, sees his barren concrete as more than just a chance for him to pocket some cash on the barrelhead: he believes in the good that parking lots do and considers the spaces to be the lungs of downtown commerce. “The City of Montreal should give free parking to come downtown. We’re chasing people out to the shopping centres,” he said. The new parking lot tax was adopted in 2010 and brings in $19 million a year to fund public transit. The tax is determined by a complicated formula that Essaris says in practice makes city taxes about twice as expensive on a surface lot as it would for another type of structure. The city held public hearings on the issue this spring and response to the surface parking eradication campaign — through the new parking tax and allowing larger-scale buildings on the empty lots — was greeted positively, according to City of Montreal Executive Committee member Alan DeSousa. “It brings more money into the city coffers and removes the scars in the downtown area,” he said. He said that some of lost parking spaces have been replaced by indoor parking in the various projects. But after seeing his taxes double in recent years, Essaris is now doing what many other parking-lot owners have done: He has started sacrificing his supply of parking spaces for housing, most recently building a 38-storey Icône condo tower at de la Montagne St. and René Lévesque Blvd. He has some misgivings, however, knowing that those spots will be sorely missed. “We cannot survive without parking in the city. I wish everybody could take the bus and métro, it’d make things easier, but you cannot force people onto the métro when they have a car,” he said. Urban retailers have long begged their merchants associations to create more places to park, perhaps no more than on the Main where about half of all members regularly plead for more parking, according to Bruno Ricciardi-Rigault, president of the SDBSL. “It would be really nice if we had a few more parking lots,” he said. However, the dearth of spaces is only going to intensify as the few remaining parking lots near St. Laurent Blvd. are slated to be redeveloped. Ricciardi-Rigault is bracing for more complaints from restauranteurs who have lost customers because their motorist clientele was fed up with circling the block. “Some people want to spend the whole afternoon, shop, go to Jeanne Mance Park, come back for a beer. Paying $20 to park on the street, that‘s asking a lot,” he said. Condo towers have been replacing lots in the downtown core at an impressive pace and the result is higher prices at indoor garages, reflected in a recent Colliers study that ranks Montreal as having the second-highest parking prices of any big Canadian city. Rates have risen an eye-opening 11 per cent since last year, as the average monthly price for an unreserved spot in a downtown underground commercial lot was $330.96 — $88 above the national average. The proliferation of private parking lots once inspired many to liken Montreal to a bombed-out city, but that is no longer the case. “We were spoiled by having tons of parking lots, now Montrealers will have to get used to much higher parking costs,” said Colliers representative Andrew Maravita. He credits a lower commercial vacancy rate for pushing prices higher. Up until the 1960s, Montreal tacitly allowed even historic buildings to be demolished and replaced by parking lots and until recently turned a blind eye to the countless rogue illegal lots that dotted the downtown core. For ages, Montreal surface parking lots were fly-by-night operations, changing ownership to avoid bylaw restrictions ordering them to be paved, landscaped. The city always said they couldn’t chase every owner down. But in recent years, authorities have increased taxes and cracked down on illegal lots, combining the stick of punishment with the carrot of juicy rezoning booty. In the past, many property owners failed to see the point of building on their parking lots, as the zoning frequently only allowed for small buildings. Those restrictions have been lifted on many of those properties, resulting in a bonanza for parking-lot owners whose land increased in value. The strategy was put into place with input from architect and former Equality Party leader Robert Libman, who previously served on the city’s Executive Committee. “A lot of projects going on now, on streets like Crescent and Bishop and that area, were previously zoned for two or three storeys. The urban plan capped those at a minimal height. The rezoning has made it more alluring for owners to build instead of leaving it vacant,” he says. Libman’s war against above-ground parking lots is personal. “They’re ugly and they undermine the downtown urban fabric,” Libman said. But he concedes that commerce relies on people being able to drive to a business. “You’ve got to find that careful balance between offering too much parking, making it too easy vs. your objective of discouraging people to take their car downtown and using public transit, that’s the fine line you have to find between the two,” he said. Developers are required to include parking in new projects, but the amount varies from place to place. In Laval, many projects are required to have two parking spaces per condo unit, while in the Plateau it’s close to zero spaces, although a typical recipe calls for one spot per two units. The one part of the city perhaps most challenged by a dearth of parking facilities is the booming Old Montreal area. The issue has long been considered such an urgent problem that one proposal from a decade ago even suggested that the massive silos in the Old Port be used to park cars. More recently, Old Montreal planners have installed an electronic billboard indicating where spaces could be found, but the pressure on parking endures, according to Georges Coulombe, whose real-estate company has been snapping up properties in the area for the last four decades. Coulombe concedes that area commerce has been hurt by a lack of space for cars. “People from places like Longueuil want to come shop on the weekend, but they can’t do it anymore, it’s too expensive to park, they end up going to malls closer to home.” He attempted to address the problem through a plan to build a high-tech robotic parking facility that could accommodate twice as many cars as a regular indoor lot. However, he did the math and found that it wouldn’t make sense because of city taxes. “I had a small 3,000-foot terrain that I would have turned into 300 spaces, but the city wanted to tax not just the building but the machinery inside. It made it impossible.” Much-hyped futuristic robotic parking systems are seen by some as a potential solution to parking woes and have actually been around for quite some time. The city has had at least three pigeon-hole parking systems as the earlier incarnations were known; one was opened on de la Montagne St. in the 1950s and another on Mansfield, where a worker was crushed by an elevator. A third more recent one was in operation at St. Jean and Notre Dame until a decade ago. Authorities frequently cite the fear of being unable to put out a car blaze in their opposition to such facilities. And although a few such high-tech robotic lots could elegantly alleviate parking pressures, one expert says that the standalone dedicated parking buildings will probably never get built. Chris Mulvihill, the New Jersey-based President of Boomerang Systems, a high-tech car-stacking parking lot system, notes that any landowner would most probably opt for a different sort of project. “Take any place where it’s very hard to get a parking spot,” Mulvihill says. “You’d think building a garage and charging for parking would be a good business model, but the economics dictate that if there’s a high demand for parking in that area, it’s because it’s a hot, happening place, so there are real-estate developers who want to build on that land. The demand makes it uber-expensive. A landowner could make a lot more money doing something other than parking on it.” © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Parking+squeeze+Downtown+businesses+feeling/7453989/story.html#ixzz2ASqBCwJE