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  1. http://journalmetro.com/opinions/paysages-fabriques/812810/un-no-mans-land-en-voie-de-disparition/ Un no man’s land en voie de disparition Par Marc-André Carignan Marc-André Carignan Cet édifice de six étages, signé par Neuf Architect(e)s, abritera le Centre local de services communautaires des Faubourgs. Pour avoir animé l’émission matinale de CIBL pendant près de trois ans au coin du boulevard Saint-Laurent et de la rue Sainte-Catherine, j’ai été un témoin privilégié de l’évolution de cette intersection emblématique de Montréal. Chaque jour, en arrivant ou en partant du boulot, je prenais le temps d’analyser les ouvertures [ou les fermetures!] de boutiques et de restaurants dans le secteur, les édifices en décrépitude, la multiplication des itinérants qui consommaient des drogues dures sans aucune gêne sur le trottoir. Mais ce qui m’a le plus frappé ces dernières années, c’est une inquiétante rupture du tissu urbain qui s’aggravait entre le Quartier Latin et la place des Festivals. Pendant qu’on investissait des millions de dollars à l’ouest de Saint-Laurent, l’est de la rue Sainte-Catherine, entre la Main et la rue Saint-Denis, devenait un no man’s land, une zone commerciale à l’agonie avec ses stationnements à ciel ouvert, ses graffitis, ses terrains vagues et ses bâtiments placardés. On avait le goût de s’enfuir. Mais cette époque semble heureusement tirer à sa fin. Ce que j’y ai observé le week-end dernier est plus qu’encourageant pour l’avenir du quartier. Les terrains sous-utilisés disparaissent le long de cette portion de Sainte-Catherine. L’immense stationnement en face du Métropolis a disparu à moitié pour accueillir un pôle de services communautaires avec un Centre local de services communautaires (CLSC). Le terrain de l’ancienne librairie Guérin [clôturé depuis des années] laisse place à un chantier qui mènera à l’aménagement de nouveaux espaces commerciaux et de copropriétés. Plusieurs projets de condos font également leur apparition au sud de l’artère, derrière la Société des arts technologiques. De son côté, l’UQAM poursuit sa contribution à la revitalisation de la rue Sainte-Catherine. L’institution a récemment inauguré son nouveau pavillon de Mode, à proximité de la rue Sanguinet, qui aura permis de réhabiliter deux édifices abandonnés. Des travaux de rénovation se poursuivent aussi dans deux autres bâtiments de l’université, à quelques pas de la rue Saint-Denis, où s’établiront d’ici l’automne un Centre de la petite enfance pour parents étudiants et une nouvelle adresse du groupe Desjardins. Sans compter que l’art urbain joue également un rôle prépondérant dans le réaménagement du secteur. Non seulement les membres du festival d’art de rue Under Pressure y ont peint des murales pour camoufler des chantiers et des façades d’édifices négligés, mais le groupe a aussi mis sur pied des galeries d’art éphémères. «On a obtenu des ententes avec des propriétaires [de bâtiments] pour faire de leurs locaux vacants des espaces culturels, explique Adrien Fumex de Under Pressure. Ça évite de placarder les édifices le temps qu’ils se trouvent des locataires permanents et ça permet aux artistes qui n’ont pas accès aux galeries commerciales d’exposer leur art.» Et que dire des terrasses de restaurants qui font leur apparition sur ce petit bout de rue? C’est un signe qui ne ment pas quand un quartier se prend en main. Il ne reste plus qu’à espérer que d’autres acteurs du coin, comme les Foufounes électriques, se joignent bientôt à la parade en revitalisant leur façade défraîchie. sent via Tapatalk
  2. https://austinonyourfeet.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/9-things-people-always-say-at-zoning-hearings-illustrated-by-cats/?utm_content=bufferc065f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer AUSTIN ON YOUR FEET 9 THINGS PEOPLE ALWAYS SAY AT ZONING HEARINGS, ILLUSTRATED BY CATS November 23, 2015Dan Keshet If you watch enough zoning hearings, the testimony begins to sound pretty repetitive. That novel argument you’re making? The Council members have heard it a million times before. Here are 9 of the things we hear most often at zoning hearings, illustrated by cats. 1. I’M NOT OPPOSED TO ALL DEVELOPMENT. JUST THIS DEVELOPMENT. Those 1,000 times you sat on your couch to support developments far away from you surely counterbalance that one time you came out to oppose your neighbor’s development. If you’re opposed, just tell us why; don’t go on about how you’re not a person that opposes things. 2. NOBODY TALKED TO ME! The city notifies neighbors and registered civic organizations about upcoming permits. Developers seek out people they think might be affected. But it’s hard to know who is going to care and notifications are often thrown out. Don’t feel left out! If you’re at the hearing, you’re being heard. Just say what’s on your mind. 3. REALITY IS, EVERYBODY DRIVES A CAR. Usually said while proposing somebody build more parking. If you want that reality to ever change, you have to accept building less car infrastructure. 4. THESE GREEDY DEVELOPERS ONLY THINK ABOUT PROFITS Land development is a business. Like all businesses, sometimes you make money and sometimes you lose money. You just try to make sure that you make enough money on the winners to cancel out the losers. Focusing in on the fact that the developer is hoping to make money makes your testimony sound more like you oppose out of spite than a particular reason. 5. LET ME TELL YOU MY THEORY OF ECONOMICS If council members haven’t learned economics by now, they’re not going to learn it from your three minute testimony. 6.WHAT THIS NEIGHBORHOOD REALLY NEEDS IS A COFFEE SHOP, NOT MORE APARTMENTS For all the mean things people sometimes say about developers, a lot of folks seem to fashion themselves amateur land developers, with a keen eye on exactly what types of businesses will succeed or fail. As it turns out, those things coincide perfectly with the things they personally enjoy. 7. I’M 5TH GENERATION! MY GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER MOVED HERE BEFORE THIS WAS EVEN ON THE MAP! That entitles you to one vote, just like everybody else. Now tell us what you came up here to say. 8. WE NEED TO RESPECT THE HUNDREDS OF HOURS SPENT CRAFTING THIS NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN Respecting people for volunteering time making plans doesn’t mean those plans should never change. Now tell us your reasons for or against this particular change. 9. THIS HOUSING IS TOO SMALL FOR ME! Different people have different needs and desires! Just because you don’t like a particular thing doesn’t mean nobody would like it. sent via Tapatalk
  3. http://www.citylab.com/politics/2014/07/paris-wants-landlords-to-turn-vacant-office-space-into-apartmentsor-else/374388/ Paris Wants Landlords to Turn Vacant Office Space Into Apartments—Or Else The city has a surplus of empty commercial buildings that could better serve as residences. And it plans to fine owners who don't convert. FEARGUS O'SULLIVAN <figure class="lead-image" style="margin: 0px; max-width: 620px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Oxygen, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 17px;"><figcaption class="credit" style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153); font-size: 0.82353em; text-align: right;">Justin Black/Shutterstock.com</figcaption></figure>Leave your office space unrented and we’ll fine you. That’s the new ruledeclared by the city of Paris last week. Currently, between six and seven percent of Paris' 18 million square meters of office space is unused, and the city wants to get this vacant office space revamped and occupied by residents. The penalties for unrented space will be as follows: 20 percent of the property’s rental value in the first year of vacancy, 30 percent in the second year and 40 percent in the third year. The plan is to free up about 200,000 square meters of office space for homes, which would still leave a substantial amount of office space available should demand pick up. The city insists that, while the sums involved are potentially large, this isn’t a new tax but an incentive. And, if it has the right effect in getting property re-occupied, may end up being little-used. Landlords' groups are taking the new plan as well as can be expected. They’ve pointed out that, while the cost of the fines might be high, it could still cost them less to pay them than to convert their properties to homes. According to a property investor quoted in Le Figaro, the cost of transforming an office into apartments can actually be 20 to 25 percent more expensive than constructing an entirely new building. Many landlords might be unwilling or unable to undertake such a process and thus be forced to sell in a market where, thanks to a glut of available real estate, prices are falling. There is also the question of how easy the law will be to enforce: Landlords could rent out vacant properties at a token rent simply to avoid the vacancy fine. <aside class="pullquote instapaper_ignore" style="font-family: Bitter, Georgia, 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 2.11765em; line-height: 1.05556; border-top-width: 5px; border-top-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(0, 0, 0); border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 25px 0px; margin: 30px 0px;">As Paris becomes a laboratory for new legislation to make homes more plentiful and affordable, other European cities would do well to watch it carefully. </aside>It’s too early to see if these predictions will come true, but past experience in smaller French property markets suggests it won’t. The fines have already been introduced elsewhere in France: in the country’s fourth city of Lille (governed by the Socialist party) and in the Parisian satellite town of St Quentin-en-Yvelines (governed by the right wing UMP). So far, neither has experienced a legislation-exacerbated property slump. It’s also fair to point out that Paris is asking for a round of belt tightening from pretty much every group involved in the city’s real estate. The new levy is part of a plan announced last month that will also pressure state and semi-public bodies to release Parisian land for home building. Paris has some fairly large reserves of this, including space currently owned by the state health authority, by the national railway network and by the RATP—Paris’ transit authority, on whose unused land alone 2,000 homes could be built. In the meantime, stringent planning laws are also being relaxed to cut development costs for office converters. They will no longer, for example, be obliged to provide parking spaces for new homes, as they had been until the law change. Finally, starting next year, landlords will get an incentive to rent their properties to financially riskier lower-income tenants by having their rents and deposits guaranteed by a new intermediary, a public/private agency called Multiloc. Coming on top of laws that have relaxed building-height restrictionson the Paris periphery, it’s clear that, for Paris developers and landowners, there’s a decent ratio of carrot to stick. But will it all work? At the very least, Paris deserves recognition for being proactive, especially on a continent where many cities’ grip on the property sector is floundering. Berlin has recently had major new homebuilding plansrejected by residents (for good reason—they were due to get a bad deal), while the U.K.’s number of newly built homes has actually gone down, despite property prices continuing to rise sharply. As Paris becomes a laboratory for new legislation to make homes more plentiful and affordable, other European cities would do well to watch it carefully. (Photo credit: Justin Black/Shutterstock.com)
  4. Tensions build over Roxboro high-rise project by Raffy Boudjikanian Article online since November 24th 2009, 13:00 Holly Arsenault shows the property line dividing her land from that of a developer whose potential project leaves many on Fifth Avenue North in Roxboro unhappy. Chronicle, Raffy Boudjikanian. Tensions build over Roxboro high-rise project Even as some residents of Fifth Avenue North in Roxboro, a dead-end street lined with single-unit bungalows, are concerned over the possible development of a multiple-storey condo at the end of their street, Pierrefonds officials at a lively public meeting last Wednesday night were at pains to explain nothing could move ahead yet. "Before the project can be accepted or acceptable, the developer must present plans that conform to our legislation. For now, that isn't the case yet," said Pierre Rochon, urban planning and business services department director, in answer to citizen questions. However, residents are concerned after seeing land surveyors walk into the swampy wooded area over the last few weeks. Holly Arsenault, who lives in a home right on the property line of the area, even said one of them told her the owner, Jacob Wolofsky, has already acquired all necessary permits and construction will begin in February. "If that's true, he's dreaming in colour," Rochon replied. When The Chronicle went to visit the street last Thursday, Arsenault showed a row of rocks that separates her yard from Wolofsky's property. Planted alongside both sides of that makeshift border are 45 trees, which Arsenault said play a large role in keeping her home from flooding when nearby Rivière des Prairies rises in the spring. "He said he's going to cut them down," Arsenault said, adding about half of them are on the developer's side. Another Fifth Avenue North resident, France Marsant, voiced her displeasure at the Wednesday meeting too. "Our street had a very peaceful, very calm character," she said. "We find it unthinkable to have a big block of eight floors on the street, which could lead to 300 cars going into the street by the summer." Borough Mayor Monique Worth insisted Pierrefonds was doing all in its power to ensure legal norms force the developer to create a reasonable project. "Our norms are getting higher and higher," she said. Rochon said previous bylaws allowed a 12-storey high project on the site, but the borough's revisions have already cut that size down to eight. At least one resident of the street was skeptical anything could be built at all. "I wouldn't even invest a cent into that land, it's a swamp," said Michel Davuluy, who has been living there for several years. After the meeting, Worth conceded the city of Montreal would, in an ideal world, like to buy up that land and turn into green space. "I think, in a way, we would like it to be a part of green space that would start, let's say, west of the Rapides du Cheval Blanc and end with that piece of property," Worth said. "But we can't force him to sell at a lower price because we would like to. It's up to him, it's his decision," she said. Though the land is valuated at about $188,000, a purchase by Montreal would cost millions because it is a public body, Worth said. Montreal had a right of expropriation on the property in question up to last May, but did not renew it after it expired, Marsant mentioned at the meeting. Wolofsky did not return calls for comment.
  5. A bridge in Mumbai Halfway to paradise A half-built bridge symbolises the urgency and the frustrations of improving India’s infrastructure Dec 22nd 2012 |From the print edition N 1988, when V.S. Naipaul arrived in Bombay, now known as Mumbai, and drove south from its airport, he could tell something unusual was happening because the traffic was so bad. It turned out that a festival of Dalits, the former untouchables, had led to crowds that blocked the roads. The Nobel-prizewinning writer complained of “fumes and heat and din” in his taxi to the Taj Hotel. The chaos was novel enough to form the opening passage of his book, “A Million Mutinies Now”. Today greater Mumbai’s population has almost doubled to 18m, and transport bedlam has become as integral to its psyche as the stockmarket, films and slums. Millions endure commutes that would qualify them for post-traumatic-stress counselling in rich countries. Rush-hour trains get so crushed that a phone or pair of glasses carried in a breast pocket will smash under the pressure of bodies. Every year perhaps 500 people perish after falling off trains in the city and 6,000 die on the tracks. If, like Mr Naipaul, you can afford a taxi, it will reek of sweat and honk and buck for inches of advantage against bigger cars, which under a Darwinian highway code have bullying rights. After monsoon storms the sewers overflow and the roads flood. On nights like this endless lines of vehicles crawl in the dark and you can hear the slop lapping on your car’s underbelly, like waves on a dinghy’s hull. But if you divert from Mr Naipaul’s route, by a creek at a place called Mahim, and turn west, you can take a different trip. Time leaps forward. India becomes China, or even Singapore. The swarm of autorickshaws fades and, after pausing at a toll booth, you find yourself on an eight-lane motorway running parallel with the coast, floating high over the sea on 120 piers, and suspended on wires from two 128-metre towers. The bridge is called the Sea Link and opened in 2009. If you open the window the air is fresh; if you put your foot down you can hit racing speed. From the bridge Mumbai’s berserk skyline seems hazy; the 23 sets of traffic lights and 40 minutes of furious traffic you are bypassing are like a bad dream. The Portuguese fort and aboriginal fishing village that you zip past feel about as real as the scenery of a Disneyland ride. For that matter, can it truly be possible that after just 4.7km, or about five minutes, all eight lanes of this glorious bridge stop in mid-air—as if King Kong had bitten them off? But alas, it is. If you keep going you will plunge into the Arabian Sea. Instead a narrow slip road delivers you back to the city. The shift is disorienting. As your car battles for space again and you pass a Dalit slum, perhaps housing the children of the folk Mr Naipaul saw, it is tempting to look back. What just happened? Viewed from the Sea Link, Mumbai seems like a mirage. But seen from the chaos of the city, it is the Sea Link that is improbable, like a giant hologram. Decent infrastructure and this megacity, maybe this country, do not belong together. Do they? Dream on If any country needs better infrastructure, it is fast-urbanising India. The government hopes a trillion dollars will be spent between 2012 and 2017, although with a creaking banking sector and jumpy investors that is optimistic. If any megacity needs better transport, it is Mumbai. Formed from seven islands, the city was given by Portugal to Charles II of England in 1661 as dowry for his marriage to Catherine of Braganza. It is a long spit whose hub is at its southern tip. Manhattan has 16 bridges, four underwater tunnels and a ferry system linking it to the mainland. Mumbai has just six bridges, all but one at its northern extremity. Two main roads, three railway lines and an airport besieged by shanty towns are its fragile links to the outside world. The city centre is like a head on a long, strangled neck. The difficulty of commuting is partly why Mumbai is so densely populated, with property prices driven high and migrants forced into slums, which now house over half the population. There are only a handful of successful state-sponsored developments: a satellite city on the mainland called Navi (New) Mumbai, some flyovers and a new office park built on marshland near the airport. What Mumbai has been unable to do in practice, it has done in theory. The first master plan to relieve the city’s woes emerged in 1948, the most recent in 2011. In the six decades in between some fine minds, from J.R.D. Tata, a revered industrialist, in 1981, to McKinsey, a consulting firm, in 2003, have had their say. There is widespread agreement on what is required. First, a road round the city’s perimeter—probably a series of Sea Link-style bridges along its entire west coast, and on its east coast a highway partly to be built on land occupied by the city’s dying old port. Second, to link this ring to the mainland, a 22km road over the sea, an idea known as the “trans-harbour link”. Third, near the end of this putative bridge, on the mainland, a new airport. And fourth, at least nine metro lines in the city itself. You can get a flavour of this Utopia in the offices of one of the many government agencies responsible for projects in Maharashtra, the state Mumbai belongs to. A huge, Lego-for-adults model built by a Singaporean firm shows the city centre bisected by an elevated bridge that sweeps in from the ocean. Vast new skyscrapers tower over the Art Deco and colonial buildings. Today’s shabby military cantonment is a nature park. Metro stations are everywhere. Jetties for ferries are abundant. A slum has become a “heritage village” with yachts moored beside it. The sea is blue, the grass is green and the buildings are spotless white. All of it is made up. Indeed of all the transport mega-projects planned for Mumbai, after decades of reports and committees, only one is in use: that surreal 4.7km stretch of the Sea Link. Kafka in Bombay What has gone wrong? One view can be heard on the wasteland at the north abutment of the Sea Link. A ragged family are smashing reinforced concrete rubble. They say they get about a dollar for every two kilos of steel inside—roughly the cost of a one-way Sea Link ticket. Nearby, dogs and feral pigs sniff around abandoned machinery as Girish, aged 52, hits the bottle with his colleagues. The pals work nights in a call centre selling Americans an erectile-dysfunction drug. “You get a quick recharge,” is the sales pitch; the most common response, they all agree, is “Fuck you”. They also agree that this derelict land is a fine spot to unwind. Yet the rumour, which seems to have originated in the nearby slum, is that it has been grabbed secretly by a tycoon to build a mall, or luxury flats; the details vary. A local priest (a church was built nearby in 1575) talks suspiciously of the “fantasy” that any such project could ever benefit the common man. In fact, the land is still owned by the government. But the conspiracy theory that Mumbai is essentially a stitch-up by the rich is not propounded only by drunk cold-callers and men of the cloth. It may be the most widely held belief in the city. Its grandest iteration is that the city’s elite has deliberately sabotaged its transport infrastructure to enrich themselves. The argument goes like this: better transport would lower the scarcity premium on land and property in downtown Mumbai, hurting builders’ profits, and in turn curbing the flow of bribes to India’s political parties. The idea that the rich control the city’s fate was fuelled by a battle in 2005-08 between Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, and his estranged brother, Anil, over a tender to build the trans-harbour link. After a legal tussle Anil undercut his brother by bidding for a concession of nine years and 11 months. The tender process was eventually abandoned. Mumbai is certainly corrupt in other ways. The chief minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan, who wants to clean things up, speaks of a nexus of builders and politicians. One official reckons illegal gains of $5 billion a year have been made by builders bribing their way around planning rules. “Those bastards have ruined everything” by scaring off legitimate firms, says one boss. But the grand conspiracy theory is silly. Mukesh Ambani owns a chunk of land near the proposed new airport, the value of which would soar if the trans-harbour link were built. Builders are buying space near proposed metro stations. And without good transport links the population of south Mumbai has begun to decline, which should be bad for property prices. Most businesspeople say the city’s decay is an embarrassment. The truth is fiddlier—as the half-built Sea Link demonstrates. The bridge was commissioned in 1999 but took ten years to finish, instead of the planned two and a half. Ajit Gulabchand, the boss of HCC, the construction firm that won the contract to build it, says the project was “a Kafkaesque struggle”. He describes himself as a “south Bombay boy” and drives a Bentley through the city to his office in the north-east (he does not use the Sea Link because there are no good connections between the west and the east). He is also subject, like all tycoons, to a secondary conspiracy theory, which is that he gained by being close to Sharad Pawar, who heads a Maharashtrian political clan. Mr Gulabchand says this is rubbish. “I’m not going to deny my friendship,” he says. But, “If I’m so powerful, how come I lost money?” One recent fiasco involved a military convoy doing a U-turn, a naval ambulance, a man in flip-flops with a red flag, and thousands of angry drivers The bridge’s original budget was $74m at current exchange rates, which rose to double that (officials verify these figures). Mr Gulabchand says he is still owed around $100m. The rising cost reflects a deep problem: delays. After construction began the cash-starved road agency in charge, MSRDC, changed the plan from eight lanes to four and back to eight again. The council took an age to release the land needed to house machinery (near where the call-centre employees relax). Maritime rules banned work during the monsoon. Customs held up the import of a 5,400-tonne floating crane. Subsea telecoms cables were found in the wrong place. Old folk living nearby griped about noise pollution. Those are the kind of problems big projects face everywhere. But other hurdles were peculiarly Indian. In a 107-year-old house in the fishing village the bridge passes over at its southern end sits Vijay Worlikar, one of the “nine Patils”, or clan chiefs, who in effect run the area. He is a Koli, an aboriginal people who have been there for centuries; he has childhood memories of Iranian boats sailing to the village to trade pistachios for dried fish. “This land is our land,” he says. Mr Worlikar successfully campaigned to shift the bridge farther from the village, and for a second suspended section to be built to create a channel for the fishing fleet to sail underneath. His legal objections, along with other environmental complaints, caused years of delays. Yet he is a modern man: his daughter is a doctor and his son an executive at the airport. He blames sloppy planning. He says he is now helping the state build relations with other fishing villages in the city to try to avoid further fiascos. Cutting red tape and winning public support would be easier with political leadership. The Sea Link was opened, with a firework display, by Sonia Gandhi, the dynast of India’s ruling Congress Party, and was officially named after her assassinated husband, Rajiv. However, consistent with the rule that the more politicians celebrate a finished project, the less they did to make it happen, the Sea Link had earlier been left out to dry. Mr Gulabchand says that after the state government changed in 1999 and an energetic minister left, the plan had no sponsor to bulldoze through bureaucracy. Maharashtra’s ruling coalition since 1999, of the Congress Party and the NCP, often squabbles over who runs big projects. The politicians have rural vote banks and are afraid, as one official puts it, “to be seen to neglect the rural man”. Mr Gulabchand thinks Mumbai needs more political accountability: “The Sea Link would not have been delayed if there was a mayor responsible for doing it. His re-election would have depended on it.” For the time being, such a change in the city’s governance seems unlikely. Mumbai’s biggest secret To grow fast India needs lots more infrastructure. But lately spending has been falling. The central bank thinks that the value of envisioned projects dropped by 52% in 2011-12. The slump reflects worries about red tape, corruption and doubts about the profitability of public-private partnerships (PPPs). In Mumbai it is easy to despair. “The whole spirit of doing things has gone,” says Mr Gulabchand. Five kilometres south of Mr Worlikar’s village is a fenced plot by the sea where men sit on plastic seats, apparently anticipating, like actors in a production of “Waiting for Godot”, the next section of the Sea Link to arrive. It could be a while. The winner of a PPP project to build and run it, Anil Ambani, has got cold feet. A political tussle has erupted, with the NCP keen to build a bridge using public funds and Congress preferring a road on reclaimed land. Nothing may happen for years. Yet, just as the Sea Link manages those 4.7km of elevated bliss, some projects are moving. Beneath a hill owned by an atomic research agency in north Mumbai, roaring diggers have almost finished excavating two half-kilometre-long tunnels. Outside, in both directions, the ghastly task of clearing slums has been accomplished and their residents moved to blocks of flats nearby. This is part of Mumbai’s best-kept secret—the Eastern Freeway, a new road stretching all the way down the city’s east coast, on the opposite side from the Sea Link, using tunnels and stilts. It should open in 2013, about five years after work began. J.R. Dhane, an engineer on the project, says it has been like painstakingly weaving a thread through the city’s dense fabric. Elsewhere the first metro line is almost finished, its platforms inches away from living-room windows, an experimental monorail is coming up, and a new round of bids is set to begin on a contract to build and operate a $2 billion trans-harbour link. These projects are all being run by the MMRDA, a state development body that has stepped into the vacuum. It owns land worth $12 billion, which it sells to help finance projects, and is viewed as clean and technocratic. Its boss, Rahul Asthana, says that progress is being made, but seems cautious about the city making a Shanghai-style great leap forward. In all probability Mumbai will do enough to prevent a crisis, but not enough to fulfil its vast potential or quickly transform the quality of most of its people’s lives. The same is true of infrastructure across India. And what of that 4.7km stretch of the Sea Link, stranded out there, all alone? The bridge is in good nick but seems to be run poorly by the road agency, MSRDC (its chief declined interview requests). Vehicle numbers are thought to be half those expected. The financial impact is hard to assess: the most recent annual report on the agency’s website is from 2008. Waiting for Utopia Meanwhile the toll-booth system has become a slapstick affair, with a maze of concrete chicanes prone to collapse, complex cash fares and overstaffed booths. Usually receipts are printed, but occasionally they are hand-stamped on the kind of paper used for bingo tickets. Accusations of graft swirl. An electronic swipe system has apparently been introduced but seems to be available only to VIPs. After a suicide jump in August it emerged that the CCTV system to help stop terrorist attacks was not working properly. One recent fiasco involved a military convoy doing a U-turn on the bridge, a naval ambulance, a man in flip-flops with a red flag like a Formula One race official, and thousands of angry drivers. This created a traffic jam along most of the Sea Link, which seemed at last to have become part of the city. Often couples on motorbikes park by the bridge. They are not there to ride on it—two-wheelers are prohibited. They are not seeking intimacy, for the choice spot for that is the rocks around the headland at low tide. Nor are they there for the ambience, for the ground nearby features broken promenades, weeds and rats. They are there for the view. When you see its sweeping cords silhouetted against a dusky sky, the Sea Link is as close to a wonder as Mumbai can offer. And whether this ritual demonstrates low expectations or hope is in the minds of the beholders alone. http://www.economist.com/news/christmas-specials/21568582-half-built-bridge-symbolises-urgency-and-frustrations-improving-indias
  6. Builders face financing squeeze 'We can expect a solid demand for condominiums well into the future' TERRENCE BELFORD From Friday's Globe and Mail September 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM EDT Remember how A Tale of Two Cities starts? Charles Dickens writes, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Stretch that theme a bit and you might be describing what is about to happen in the Toronto-area condominium market. First, the best of times. According to Urbanation Inc., which tracks condos from the Burlington border to Ajax and Whitby, there were a record 295 projects for sale at the end of June. Of these, 147 were under construction and another 38 new ones were ready to break ground. Behind those projects stood 151 different developers, and for many of them it was their first shot at building a condo. Those first-timers were mainly house builders who could no longer find building lots. Their choice was either to move into condos or fold their tents. So on the plus side, prospective buyers have never had greater choice. Now on to the worst of times. That impressive number of projects may prove to be the Greater Toronto Area's version of a Potemkin Village by the end of the year. Veteran market watchers say that up to a third of them are likely to be pulled from the market. Along with them, up to 50 developers may bite the dust. The reason? They are unlikely to find financing, says Barry Lyon. He is a 40-year veteran of the Toronto area real estate market. His company, N. Barry Lyon Consulting Ltd., provides research, marketing and project management to the condo and commercial sectors. "The U.S. credit crunch means the money to build just is not there," he says. "The tap has run dry." So, what determines who gets the money to build? In large part, GTA condo buyers. Developers need to presell about 60 per cent of the units in any project before lenders will take a look at providing the money to build. Equally important, they have to do it within reasonable time frames. As their marketing and sales teams scurry to sell suites, construction and carrying costs for high-priced land are ticking upwards. Mr. Lyon says he would not be surprised to see some developers pulling projects out of the market because those costs have risen to such an extent that they simply can't make a buck going ahead. "In some cases, even with 60 per cent sold, some developers are still going to have a hard time finding financing," he says. It is not that there is any lack of demand. It remains strong, says Jane Renwick, executive vice-president of Urbanation. But it is nowhere near the levels seen in 2007, which was a banner year for the industry. Thanks to record sales in 2007, 76 per cent of the 66,310 suites on the market at the end of June had already been snapped up. "I think a lot of last year's sales went to first-time buyers," she says. "I also think that most of them have now been absorbed so we are looking at a return to a more stable market — less of a gold-rush mentality." Again on the plus side of demand is the lure the GTA holds for immigrants. Ms. Renwick points out that of the 150,000 people who immigrate to Ontario in any given year, 100,000 of them make their way to the Toronto area. "If that trend continues, if we continue with high employment and if the economy continues to expand, we can expect a solid demand for condominiums well into the future," she says. That demand will continue to be strongest within the old city of Toronto. That is where 70 per cent of today's projects sit, says Mr. Lyon. It is also where prices are highest — an average $461 a square foot, versus $418 a year ago, according to Urbanation. Compare that with $294 in Scarborough, $254 in Pickering, $287 in Ajax and $313 in Aurora. Much of the difference is simply the cost of land to build on. But in that area Mr. Lyon suggests the coming shakeout may bring positive benefits to buyers. He says the loss of about a third of the developers today jockeying for land and bidding against each other to arrange construction crews likely means less competition for available resources. Less competition means lower demand and lower demand usually leads to, if not lower prices, then at least a much slower rise in prices. "It is going to be an interesting year," Mr. Lyon says. "By the end of 2008, the GTA's condo market may be a quite different place." Terrence Belford is a veteran journalist covering the Toronto real estate market.
  7. Hi all, I thought that I would share with you guys my progress on my Jeanne-Mance project that I have been working on during the past months. This work is largely incomplete as I barely had enough time to work on it. I acknowledge that, there is a lot of changes to do with the masterplan, so it is likely to be quite different on the report, which should be finished by April or Mai Update I just want to specify that this project is explorative. Its only purpose is to explore developmental opportunities within the context of reconnecting the area’s urban fabric to its surroundings and also to maximize land use efficiency, while finding solutions to offer more amenities than what they already have. Masterplan Here is a section of the extended Emery Street at the centre
  8. 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 $400 million investment for an office and three condo towers to be built near the Bell Centre, on Saint Antoine and de la Montagne Sts. Yet a fifth land site near the Bell Centre is to be put on the market next week, The Gazette has learned. The price these sites will fetch will depend on a combination of zoning and market demand. The red-tape Montreal developers have historically faced in obtaining zoning changes to built higher — and more economically viable buildings — may be easier to deal with if the seller is a city agency, brokers say. [email protected] http://www.twitter.com/RealDealMtl Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/sale+city+buildings+prime+spots/5275338/story.html#ixzz1VRFi0FYh
  9. http://www.thestar.com/article/845013--siddiqui-harper-s-ottawa-becomes-republican-la-la-land
  10. http://www.inman.com/buyers-sellers/columnists/stevebergsman/westmount-canadas-beverly-hills According to wikipedia, Place Belvedere is considered the most expensive street on the whole island. I guess when there is only 10 homes on it, would make sense.
  11. Le constructeur automobile indien a bouclé l'acquisition des deux marques pour 2,3 G$ US auprès de Ford. Pour en lire plus...
  12. 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
  13. The quarry St-Michel I believe near autoroute 125 and the second being close to autoroute papineau... This area is baffling me. So much unused and wasted land that can be used for something better. Maybe housing developments or something else? Do you think the city is actually going to do something about this zone? Here's the sites in question: http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ll=45.563583,-73.636261&spn=0.000008,0.010568&z=17&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=45.563583,-73.636261&cbp=12,0,,0,0&photoid=po-46317218 http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ll=45.5575,-73.622802&spn=0.00003,0.042272&vpsrc=6&layer=c&cbll=45.5575,-73.622802&cbp=12,0,,0,0&photoid=po-38890502&z=15
  14. (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
  15. Dimanche le 3 Mai il va avoir un référendum surle nouveau plan d'urbanisme proposé par l'administration Finn à Saint-Lambert. Le plan le fait possible de construire des édifices de 6 à 8 étages dans certains secteurs ou on trouve des immeubles abandonnés. Le comité du OUI supporte le plan et le comité Vert/NON l'oppose. The Green committee is opposed to all new construction in St. Lambert. When I was a high school student at Chambly Academy a few years ago, the school was planning to expand (add on a new gym, library, etc). These people managed to block the construction of these facilities while I was there claiming that it intruded upon "their" greenspace (which belonged to the School Board, and they were technically trespassing on). They were also opposed to the construction of a CHSLD to serve the city's aging population. They managed to delay these things for 10 years, until last year when Mayor Finn gave the green light to school expansion (by purchasing the land behind the school), and then re-sold the land to Groupe Savoie to build the CHSLD at a profit for the city. The Green committee is looking for revenge against the city and is attempting to prevent further development (St. Lambert is entirely built up, but there are a few abandoned buildings that the city has zoned for some medium-density residential develipment). J'ai déja voté dans la vote avancé (OUI bien sur). J'ai mis les vidéos des deux cotés pour que vous pouvez tous voir quel coté est négatif et déraisonnable. Le vidéo en faveur d'un densification à Saint-Lambert: Français: <object width="400" height="300"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4282831&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4282831&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="300"></embed></object><br /><a href="http://vimeo.com/4282831'>http://vimeo.com/4282831">OUI à l'avenir de Saint-Lambert</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user1634290'>http://vimeo.com/user1634290">Oui Saint-Lambert 3 mai 2009</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>. English: <object width="400" height="300"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4294312&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4294312&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="300"></embed></object><br /><a href="http://vimeo.com/4294312">Yes to Saint-Lambert's future</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user1634290'>http://vimeo.com/user1634290">Oui Saint-Lambert 3 mai 2009</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>. http://oui-st-lambert.blogspot.com/ Le vidéo "fear-mongering" des NIMBYs: Français: <object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.tagtele.com/v/36339"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.tagtele.com/v/36339" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object> English: <object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.tagtele.com/v/36863"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.tagtele.com/v/36863" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object> http://www.nonle3mai.com/
  16. After 57 years, it's bye-bye Ben's Sandwich shop is toast. Montreal landmark closed in December and now faces the wrecker's ball MARY LAMEY, The Gazette Published: Saturday, May 12, 2007 Ben's Restaurant, a Montreal landmark closed in December after a lengthy labour dispute, has been sold and will face the wrecker's ball. SIDEV Realty Corp. has purchased the three-storey building at the corner of Metcalfe St. and de Maisonneuve Blvd., from the Kravitz family. The deal is expected to close on June 18. The purchase price has not been disclosed. SIDEV plans to demolish the building and is examining various options for redeveloping the 6,000-square-foot site. One option would be to build a 12- to-15-storey boutique hotel with retail space on the lower floors, or condominiums, said SIDEV president Sam Benatar, who began discussions with the Kravitz family several months ago. Ben's Deli in 2006: The municipal tax roll pegs its value at $2.62 million.View Larger Image View Larger Image Ben's Deli in 2006: The municipal tax roll pegs its value at $2.62 million. "It's a very small site, but what an incredible location," Benatar said. His firm is also open to working with the Hines-SITQ partnership, which is planning a 28-storey office tower on the lot immediately east of Ben's. SIDEV has been in touch with the SITQ and expects to meet with the real estate development arm of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec to see whether they can work together. His firm is not planning to sell the land, Benatar said firmly. "We did not buy in order to sell, but we are open to discussing all possibilities." A spokesman for the SITQ said he was unaware of the transaction and doubted the developer would alter its project to incorporate the Ben's property. "We are moving ahead with the project we presented publicly last October," said Jacques-Andre Charland, the SITQ's director of public affairs. The Texas-based Hines Group purchased the parking lot immediately east of Ben's in 2004. It partnered with the SITQ, a major landlord, to build the $150-million project that was to virtually wrap around the restaurant, one of the last three-storey structures along the canyon of office towers on De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. Hines has said publicly that it had hoped to strike a deal to acquire the neighbouring land, too. The Kravitz family has vehemently denied that it was ever approached about selling. The family could not be reached for comment yesterday. Ben Kravitz opened a deli offering smoked meat on St. Lawrence Blvd. in 1908. The Metcalfe St. eatery, with its wrap-around illuminated sign, opened in 1950. The current municipal tax roll pegs the property's value at $2.62 million, including $1.96 million for the land and $660,700 for the building. "There's no question of leaving the building in place. It isn't worth anything," Benatar said. SIDEV owns and manages large office and commercial properties around Montreal, including the Gordon Brown building at 400 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W. in the fur district, the jewellery business hub at 620 Cathcart St. and a Chabanel district property at 9250 Park Ave. It is also moving ahead with a plan to demolish the Spectrum and build a $120-million retail and office project at the southeast corner of Bleury and Ste. Catherine Sts.
  17. Deal Book If this did go through, I do wonder if NM would land up in Canada.
  18. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/12/us/blighted-cities-prefer-razing-to-rebuilding.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20131112&_r=0 Absolutely fascinating article in the New York Times abut the demolition of inner city areas throughout the States. The figures for population exodus are staggering. It reminds me of Drapeau`s slum clearance programme here. . What is it now? 50 years later? And we still have great swaths of abandoned land along Rene Levesque ouest. Our urban challenges seem fairly minor compared to some.
  19. Source copenhagenize.com I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Or maybe a big one. In the race for reestablishing the bicycle as a feasible, accepted and respected form of transport, many cities are keen to bang their drums to show off their bicycle goodness. All of the noise is good noise - every bike lane, bike rack, lowered speed limit, et al are great news and important for the symbolism of cementing the bicycle on the urban landscape. The secret is this. There is a city in North America that is steadily working towards planting bicycle seeds. I often see internet lists about the most bicycle friendly cities in North America and just as often this city isn't on them. Which is wrong. The reason is a cultural one. English North America looks in the mirror when measuring itself. Europe is another planet and measuring yourself up against the bicycle boom in cities like Paris, Seville and Barcelona won't let you top any bicycle traffic lists. Fair enough. Compare yourself with other cities in your region and measure your progress. Nothing wrong with that. This secret city, despite being firmly placed on the North American continent, still gets ignored and overlooked. (No, it's not Portland) It's in a region that doesn't speak an English dialect. (No, it's not Wisconsin) A region that has its own unique cultural heritage and identity. (No, it's not Alberta) This city, and region, don't figure in the daily consciousness of most North Americans because they're just too damned "foreign". Ish. But I was there very recently and I was amazed with what I saw. And I've seen stuff. I saw the most impressive bicycle rush hour one afternoon. More impressive and with greater numbers than anywhere else in North America. By far. I saw more separated bicycle infrastructure in this city than anywhere else in North America. One of the cycle tracks dates from 1986! Beat that. You can't. Sure, many of the cycle tracks are on-street bi-directional ones, which we threw out of our Best Practice in Denmark a couple of decades ago, but they area there and they are used and they are a good start. I rode on a cycle track that features 9000 daily cyclists. And this is nothing new for them. I stayed in a borough in the city - one of the highest-density areas in North America - that has one of the lowest car-ownership rates in North America and that can boast a modal split for bicycles of over 9%. City-wide it's at about 2.3%, just so you know. This borough showed me that bicycle culture is alive and well and that focusing solely on bicycle commuting doesn't get you anywhere. The bicycle can get you to work and back, sure, but it about making the bicycle a part of your daily life. There are, after all, schools to drop off at, shops to shop at, cafés to sip at, cinemas to be entertained at, and so on. This city is a role model for a continent. It can teach lessons worth learning if there were people from other cities willing to learn. It has the country's largest cyclist organisation who have been representing Citizen Cyclists for 40 years. I ate at their café, too! How cool is that. I had lunch with the Mayor of the aforementioned borough and saw in his eyes the kind of visionary politician that every city should have. A man who dares to believe that his vision of his city's future can be achieved and who isn't afraid to suddenly change a busy street to one-way for cars and put in bicycle lanes in both directions on either side of said street. I felt his passion and was charged by it. This is a city that can put on two bike rides / events in three days, organised by the aforementioned cyclists organisation. The first one drew 17,000 people on bicycles for an evening ride. The next one drew 25,000 for a 50 km tour of the city. Read those numbers again. 17,000 on a Friday evening. Then 25,000 on the Sunday. This is a city that fascinates me. Not only for what it is doing for bicycle traffic and culture but for it's stunning liveable-ness. I live in what is regarded as one of the world's most liveable cities. I can go to other like-minded cities and feel at home. Then I land in this city and wonder how the hell they do it. How the hell it many neighbourhoods are lightyears ahead of Copenhagen, Amsterdam and anywhere else in the way the streets are used by people. For all the talk of Liveable Streets, this city lives the dream. Walking the walk and talking the talk. I am simply obsessed by this. I simply need to find out, in detail, how it can be. I want the recipe. I'm willing to bust my ass to find it, write it down, absorb it. I want to be taught. I'm still working on my love affair with their french fries served with gravy and cheese curds, but I have seen North America's promised land. I've been to the mountaintop (and rode up and down their mountain and hills on a three-speed upright bike... easy) and I've seen down the other side. Every waking moment... okay, that's an exaggeration... I'm thinking about returning. To experience, to learn, to soak up their the city's vibe.
  20. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) :goodvibes: I remember bike riding through there practically every weekend when I was younger. Took a while, but it was a nice ride.
  21. ?????? I HAVE ANOTHER LARGE GROUP OF BUSINESSES THAT ARE NOT LEGAL IN QUEBEC AND I DEMAND THAT THEY BE SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATELY ...TABERNACLE ON EST AU QUEBEC CALICE........!!!!! SO PLEASE OLF, DO YOUR F..KIN JOB AND CLOSE DOWN THESE TRAITES A NOTRE NATION ET NOTRE PEUPLE!!!!!.... WHERE THE FUCK IS THE FRENCH ON THESE F..KIN SIGNS ST-SACRAMENT!!!! AS A QUEBECKER I ASK THAT THESE BUSINESSES BE CLOSED NOW AND THAT THE OFFICE DE LANGUE FRANCAIS DOES ITS NOBLE DUTY AND GET THESE ASSHOLES TO OBEY THE LAW OF THE LAND...DEATH TO ANTOINE LAOUN, GREICH & SCAFF, BURN IN HELL NEW LOOKAND BACK TO YOUR LAND YOU BATARDS AT LENSCRAFTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...... :duh: :duh: :dizzy: :yikes: :yikes: :openmouth: :openmouth: :banghead: :flamed:
  22. FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2010 Expropriate Overdale! Demolition: within minutes pulleys, chains and trucks can transform a visual touchstone, place of fabulous living bricks and mortar and vibrant history and memories into a pile of junk to be trucked off. This is the fate that the city has decreed for the Lower Main and one of its most unique and liveliest of spots - the Cafe Cleopatra. What's more shocking is that the city plans to expropriate the properties and simply hand them over to another owner, a practice that's considered ethically dubious at best. If indeed the city proposes to tread in those murky waters, we propose that they set their sights further west. Over two decades ago the city of Montreal allowed landowners Douglas Cohen and Robert Landau to demolish a neighbourhood of about seven buidings buildings housing about 100 people at the corner of Mackay and René-Lévesque. The city could easily have refused them permission to demolish the structures, as most suggested that the buildings be integrated into the larger project that the duo proposed. But Cohen and Landau insisted that their $500 million condo project could never happen unless the entire block was razed. The city blinked and ordered the tenants out and demolished the buildings. Mayor Dore and his assistant John Gardiner suffered a major blow to their credibility and their powerful MCM party started a downhill spiral that ended when they were voted out of power. Meanwhile the owners never kept their promise to build condos on the property. Two decades later the owner Robert Landau has not only failed to build anything on the land but he's created an urban parking hell eyesore where a vibrant neighbourhood once stood. Robert Landau also runs Landau Fine Art Gallery at Mackay and Sherbrooke. Landau's family money comes from the fur business. He opposed the greening of Mackay last year. He has sought to demolish the last remaining structure on the property, which has considerable historic value. Landau has some sort of British accent even though he's a Montrealer. He said in an interview "you know that you can trust us." Get the picture? Landau looks like he'll be alive for a few more years and he seems unable or unwilling to get anything done on the precious downtown block. The city should expropriate and resell the land to someone to build on the land. An indoor parking lot could be incorporated so even those who like to park their cars there could still be accommodated. Montreal's city administration was tricked and betrayed and burnt by the Overdale affair but it can now make things right by some forceful action that it has claimed to be willing to take in much less justifiable circumstances. Mayor Tremblay claims he's willing to use this tool, he should use some wisdom to discern the proper place to use it. http://coolopolis.blogspot.com/2010/02/expropriate-overdale.html
  23. Voici un cas typique du débat entre développement et préservation... ou vous situez-vous dans ce spectrum? Not out of the woods yet Montreal wants to preserve a mature forest, but Ste. Anne de Bellevue argues tax revenue doesn't grow on trees MICHELLE LALONDEThe Gazette Sunday, May 25, 2008 CREDIT: ALLEN MCINNIS THE GAZETTE Participants in a nature walk point at flying birds during their travels through Woods No. 3, part of the Rivière à l'Orme Ecoforest Corridor. Environmental advocates fear the old-growth trees will soon be cut down, as developers plan to build houses on the site. CREDIT: ALLEN MCINNIS THE GAZETTE Hikers examine a tiny red salamander in the Rivière à l'Orme ecoterritory, which is home to rare animals and plants.If the city of Montreal wants to preserve an ecologically valuable forest in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, it will have to pay off not only the real estate developer that owns the forest but also the town that stands to lose tax revenue if it is not developed. At least, that's the view of Ste. Anne de Bellevue Mayor Bill Tierney. Developers plan to build about 60 homes on 13 hectares of mature forest in what is known as Woods No. 3, tucked between the Rivière à l'Orme and the town of Kirkland's western border. The site is within the borders of the Rivière à l'Orme Ecoforest Corridor, one of 10 ecoterritories the city of Montreal identified in 2004 as being ecologically significant. The Rivière à l'Orme ecoterritory is home to an unspoiled mature forest, rare and endangered flora and fauna, and cedar groves that provide habitat for a population of white-tailed deer. Montreal set aside $36 million to acquire private lands within the most sensitive parts of these 10 eco-territories in March 2004. The island council later expressed its support for Montreal's efforts by identifying these same ecoterritories as "heritage areas of collective interest." Ste. Anne de Bellevue is one of three municipalities through which the Rivière à l'Orme, the island's only inland river, flows. The Rivière à l'Orme Ecoforest Corridor includes land in Pierrefonds, Beaconsfield and Ste. Anne de Bellevue. While some island municipalities, like Beaconsfield, have welcomed Montreal's efforts to preserve ecologically valuable forests and wetlands in their communities, Tierney says Ste. Anne de Bellevue needs to grow and requires the tax dollars the new development would bring. Besides, Tierney says, Ste. Anne is already plenty green, thank you, what with McGill University's Macdonald Campus Farm, the Morgan Arboretum and the Ecomuseum. "This is not the middle of Montreal. This is not Verdun. It's already very, very green," Tierney said in an interview. The land in question has been zoned residential for at least 25 years, Tierney notes, and last year the town council adopted a development plan for the area confirming that zoning. In March, the developer was granted the right to subdivide the land and West Island conservation groups fear the felling of trees is imminent. "When Montreal decided to protect these green spaces, they did not have the force of law," Tierney said. "The only sure way Montreal can protect this land is to acquire it." The city of Montreal is trying to do just that. Helen Fotopulos, the city of Montreal executive committee member responsible for parks and green spaces, said negotiations are under way with the landowners, Groupe Immobilier Grilli Inc. and Jean Houde Construction. "I'm optimistic" Woods No. 3 can be saved, Fotopulos said. "For us this is a priority and always has been. ... The discussions are going on and we hope to be able to have our great-grandchildren enjoy the fruits of this forest." But Tierney said Ste. Anne de Bellevue should not be expected to stand by while Montreal butts in, buys the land and deprives his municipality of future tax revenues. He argues the cost of ecoterritories, including lost tax revenues, should be shared by taxpayers across the island. "Ste. Anne is not a rich city," Tierney said. "Maybe losing that money means not being able to meet our collective agreements or not bringing in programs like improved recycling and bicycle paths." The new housing development would be very eco-friendly, and include such features as geothermal heating and preservation of much of the tree canopy, he said. But a canopy does not a forest make, and conservation groups like the Green Coalition say Ste. Anne de Bellevue needs to get its eco-priorities straight. "This land is of the highest value in terms of ecology and how intact and undisturbed the forest is," said Daniel Oyama, of the Green Coalition, a non-profit advocacy group. He wants to see cities like Ste. Anne change their development plans to reflect the need to preserve what little is left of unspoiled green spaces on the island of Montreal. "They should get out of the woods and build in higher density on what's already been spoiled and leave the mature 100-year-old trees alone," Oyama said. Meanwhile, Beaconsfield Mayor Bob Benedetti said he, too, is confident Woods No. 3 will be preserved. Benedetti joined Fotopulos last year in Montreal's efforts to preserve part of Angell Woods, which also fall within the Rivière à l'Orme Ecoforest Corridor. But instead of demanding compensation money, Beaconsfield contributed $600,000 toward buying the land from the developer who owned it. "We were in a different situation," Benedetti said. "Our citizens had made a clear decision they wanted to preserve that forest." Benedetti sits on a committee set up by the island council to deal with issues related to the Rivière à l'Orme Ecoforest Corridor. He said it's significant Tierney has agreed to meet with the committee next month. Since Woods No. 3 is just across Highway 40 from Angell Woods, Benedetti is keenly interested in seeing it preserved, too. "I subscribe to the dream of a huge West Island regional park that would go from Cap St. Jacques down to Angell Woods on both sides of the Rivière à l'Orme, with a green corridor over or under Highway 40," he said. But realizing that dream may require significant financial help from the provincial government, Benedetti acknowledged. [email protected] thegazette.canwest.com © The Gazette (Montreal) 2008 http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=e9128069-0cb5-4af8-a982-f1768c6d9d56&sponsor=
  24. I thought this was interesting: http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/ikea-is-assembling-its-own-london-neighborhood.html IKEA is Assembling its Own London Neighborhood IKEA is going into the business of selling walls, floors and roofs, in addition to furniture, housewares and rugs. Inter IKEA Holding Services, the intellectual property owners of the home-goods retail monolith, recently announced plans to build an entire neighborhood in Stratford, East London, just south of the Olympic Park, where the 2012 Olympics will take place. The new district, Strand East, will include 1,200 homes, of which about 40 percent will have three or more bedrooms. Strand East will also have a 350-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel, 480,000 square feet of offices, shops, cafes, restaurants, a school, a nursery, and a health-care facility, allowing residents to accomplish daily errands and needs without having to drive. The 26-acre neighborhood-in-progress is being designed to include car-free pedestrian zones, courtyards and landscaped grounds, while the planned underground parking means vehicles will be stowed tidily out of sight. The parcel is bordered on two of three sides by waterways, so the community might take on a Venice-like feel, with a water taxi service, a floating cocktail bar, and moorings that will be available for residents’ use Strand East will be constructed by Landprop, a unit of Inter IKEA. Harald Müller, the managing director for LandProp and the business development manager for Inter IKEA, emphasizes that while IKEA values such as family safety and smart design will be represented, this project is completely separate from the retail branch — so don't expect the apartments to come fully furnished with IKEA catalog items. Müller isn't saying exactly how much the land cost, but the amount was higher than the speculated £25 million (about $39 million) cited in The Daily Mail. It was obtained at "a very interesting low price, but not this price," he said. Of the total land buy, Müller says that two big parcels were foreclosures. One foreclosure was bought from a bank, and the other was from the Olympic Legacy Company. Inter IKEA had the advantage of making an equity-financed purchase, which has allowed it to create similar developments in Poland, the Baltics and Romania. Demolition has begun in what was once an abandoned industrial area of Stratford, dating from the 15th or 16th century. Gin was distilled in the area during the last century until the war, but in the intervening time it became "completely empty and rubbish and ugly," says Müller. Although some planning approvals are pending, construction is planned to begin in 2013 — after the Olympics — and is expected to take about five years. However, one section, Dane’s Yard (pictured at top) has been approved. It will feature a 40-meter-high (131-foot) illuminated sculpture in its public square, and a Grayson’s restaurant that will focus on ethically and locally sourced foods. It will also retain renovated versions of some of the historic buildings. "We will turn it around for sure," says Müller. "Not being arrogant, but for sure it will be a new hotspot in London."