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Found 13 results

  1. There's heavy renovation inside and outside of this beautiful old building which now houses Charcos and Smoke's Poutinerie. Condos? Rental? Who knows. At least it's getting a new life. They did a fair bit of demolition to put in windows (and what I assume will be balconies). Here's what it looked like last summer.
  2. 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
  3. Hotel overview LUXURY HAS NO LIMITS: A Modernist architectural jewel that rises up from its surroundings like a huge sentinel: the new Hotel ME Barcelona. The hotel is a new symbol for innovation and contemporary luxury in the city of Barcelona. ME Barcelona is the fourth hotel operated under the ME by Meliá brand, hotels with their very own special personality. Located in an impressive building measuring 120 metres in height, the ME Barcelona has a total of 34 floors, 29 above ground and another 5 below ground. The hotel has been designed by the French architect Dominique Perrault, famous worldwide for his avant-garde designs. Rooms 192 Supreme, 44 The Level, 16 Suites, 6 Grand Suites and 1 Sky Suite Interactive 32" plasma TV Wireless internet connection (WI-FI) free throuhout the hotel Audio system for Tango X2 I-pod Direct phone: in bathroom, writing desk and night-table Pillow top mattress 2 Types of gel and/or feather pillows Full-length mirror Shiny white resin or wooden mirror Bathrooms with panoramic views over Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea Iron and ironing board available in the room Mini-bar (additional charge) Safe Individually controlled air-conditioning and heating Writing desk to measure with Fax-Modem connection for Internet or WIFI (free) Magnetic key card Bathroom with rain shower or bathtub, bathrobe, amenities (Aveda brand), hair-dryer, magnifying mirror Room completely soundproofed Connecting rooms (on request) i-Pod rental additional Services and facilities Special pet service 24-hours room service Customised service through our "everything-is-possible" team Laundry service Personalised call / wake-up service Room cleaning service twice a day I-pod rental (extra charge) Possibility of a baby-sitter Special service for pets Different musical atmospheres (live DJs) Local attractions Puerto Olímpico: 5 minutes by car Torre Agbar: 5 minutes' walk Shopping Center: 5 minutes' walk Sagrada Familia: 5 minutes by car Parque Gúell: 15 minutes by car Restaurants and bars Sky Food Bar & Lounge- relaxed, chic and modern venue. Fresh market cuisine DOSCIELOS Restaurant & Lounge - the Torres brothers' design cuisine, with a charismatic ambience and a panoramic balcony Angels & Kings Club - The New York Club Floor is an exclusive meeting point for people in the city Leisure Fitness Centre with natural light open 24 hours a day /7 days a week Outdoor stainless steel urban swimming pool Sun / chill out terrace on the 6th floor YHI SPA, including sauna, Jacuzzi, pressure showers, hammam and 4 treatment rooms Boutique Different musical ambiences (live DJ) Meeting rooms ME Barcelona has meeting rooms for 14 to 225 persons, all equipped with the latest technology State-of-the-art audiovisual equipment Business Center Catering Cell phone rental Computer rental Secretarial services Fax and photocopy service, printers Simultaneous interpretation services Meeting rooms: 5 Studio, 3 Sky Ballroom and 1 Evolution room http://www.solmelia.com/solNew/hoteles/jsp/C_Hotel_Description.jsp?codigoHotel=0823
  4. BY JAY BRYAN, THE GAZETTE APRIL 9, 2009 Housing construction in Canada rebounded with surprising vigour in March, with the biggest gains in Ontario and Quebec. Still, hardly anybody believes that this foreshadows a lasting uptrend. And that's probably a good thing. There are signs that some homebuilders have gotten ahead of themselves, creating an excess inventory of unsold homes and condos that needs to be trimmed in order to reduce pressure on home prices. A pessimistic view this week by economists from the Toronto-Dominion Bank is that housing inventories are so bloated that new construction will plunge by more than 40 per cent this year. An alternative view, from Bob Dugan, chief economist at Canada Mortgage and Housing, is that starts must, indeed, drop, but not as dramatically as that. The CMHC forecast is for a decline of 24 per cent, based on the notion that builders actually did a pretty good job of cutting construction when the market weakened, leaving inventories less inflated than in past housing down cycles. The Toronto-Dominion analysis quite possibly overdoes the gloom. One sign of this is that some markets - most notably, Quebec - remain a little perkier than this analysis would suggest. A key reason is that Montreal's big condo market, while somewhat overbuilt, isn't nearly as sick as it might look at first glance. More on this in a minute. In several other cities, however, there is evidence of growing inventories of unsold homes. In most of Western Canada, it's single-family homes, while in Vancouver and Toronto, there are signs of an inflating condo bubble. So many condos are being built in Vancouver, even as a recession takes hold, that economist Grant Bishop, an author of the Toronto-Dominion housing study, expects to see as many as 4,000 unsold new condo units there by the end of this year. In Toronto, where condo construction also seems to be running ahead of anticipated demand, Bishop anticipates a backlog of more than 2,000 units by year-end. There also is concern among some analysts that Montreal is suffering from a huge backlog of unsold condos, based on the large number of new, vacant multiple units. But this represents a bit of confusion about a unique aspect of Montreal's market. In this city, explains the senior Montreal market analyst at CMHC, Bertrand Recher, a huge chunk of the multiple market is in a category that's not nearly as significant in other big cities. It's rental housing complexes built specifically for retirees, a type of housing that's at least twice as popular among retirement-age Quebecers as among their counterparts elsewhere in Canada. When you toss this kind of multiple housing development into the same pot with condos and a few row homes and semi-detached homes, you find, as the Toronto-Dominion study reports, that Montreal's inventory of new, unsold multiples is staggering - more than 3,900. But this adds up apples and oranges. Recher points out that nearly half of this huge number in fact represents rental units for seniors. Since it's rental housing, the notion that it's "unsold" isn't very meaningful. And since these are developments designed specifically for seniors, the danger that they could one day be dumped on the market as condos is minimal. While it's true that there is a large inventory vacant seniors' units - representing about 14 months' supply at the current rental rate - the market in Montreal for such developments remains strong and the demographics of this province's aging population should only make it stronger. As for actual condos, the unsold inventory of new units, at 1,667, is only moderately high, Recher believes. At the current pace of sales, it represents about eight months' inventory, down from a peak of 11 months in early 2007. And while high-priced luxury condos are getting harder to sell, moderate-priced units, typically in the suburbs, are still moving briskly. Across Canada, says Dugan, "I'm not terribly concerned about oversupply" putting more pressure on housing prices. But he does see some areas for concern, like the condo boom in Vancouver and Toronto. [email protected] Projected Average Price of Homes in Montreal Area in 2009 Detached Bungalow / Two-Storey / Condominium 2009* Per cent change 2009 Per cent change 2009 Per cent change Beaconsfield: 290,000 / 5.5% / 370,000 / 5.7% / N/A / N/A Côte St. Luc: 239,000 / 3.9% / N/A / N/A / 229,000 / 1.8% Dorval: 243,000 / 2.3% / 244,000 / 3% / 212,000 / 1.9% Lachine: 224,000 / 1.8% / 232,000 / 3.1% / 247,000 / 2.9% LaSalle/Verdun: 198,000 / -3.4% / N/A / N/A / 165,000 / 4.4% Montreal West: N/A / N/A / 360,000 / -1.4% / N/A / N/A Notre Dame de Grâce: N/A / N/A / 375,000 / 1.4% / 230,000 / 0% Westmount: N/A / N/A / 610,000 / -10% / 260,000 / -5.1% Montreal: 232,375 / 2% / 330,056 / -0.7% / 206,528 / 0% * 2009 prices are first-quarter averages, N/A: Information not available. Source: Royal Lepage © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette http://www.montrealgazette.com/Business/Montreal+condo+glut+illusion/1479696/story.html
  5. http://www.jll.com/Research/Global-Office-Index-Q2-2016.pdf Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. Richard Quest's CNN Business travellers visited montreal, Part 1 - Restructuring Air Canada http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2013/03/14/business-traveller-montreal-canada-a.cnn Part 2 - Bombardier C-Series + bottle protector for your luggage http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2013/03/14/business-traveller-montreal-canada-b.cnn Part 3 - Car rental fees (generic but filmed in mtl) +Cirque du Soleil http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2013/03/14/business-traveller-montreal-canada-c.cnn
  7. Housing starts climb in August, led by Montreal's 283% increase Foundations poured for 1,878 homes. Construction of condos rises highest, while rental properties fall vs. last year MARY LAMEY, The Gazette Published: 6 hours ago Housing starts rose in August for the fifth consecutive month in greater Montreal, though market demand for rental housing showed signs of cooling, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported yesterday. A total of 1,878 dwellings were started, a seven-per-cent increase over the month a year earlier. The number of condominium starts increased by 65 per cent, while the number of single-family homes rose by 20 per cent. Rental starts fell by 22 per cent to 692 units, compared with 890 a year earlier. Montreal had less new construction than other parts of the metropolitan census area, but still managed the biggest percentage gain for the month, with a 283-per-cent increase in starts. That was powered by the start of work on 413 rental units, compared with 20 a year earlier, and by 252 condo starts, vs. 118 last year. In contrast, Laval and the North Shore construction fell by 29 per cent to 734 units. The drop was most noticeable on the rental front, where the number of new units underway was 155, vs. 618 a year before. Those results were distorted by the start of work on a 500-unit rental project for seniors in August 2006. Construction of single and attached homes and condominiums all rose. On the South Shore, construction declined by 35 per cent for the month, including a 91-per-cent drop in the biggest city, Longueuil, where there wasn't a single rental or attached home start and where only five single-family homes and 14 condominium units were started. The 19 starts for Longueuil compared with 200 a year ago. In Vaudreuil-Soulanges, construction rose by 144 per cent, totaling 100 new units. CMHC considers a project started when the concrete foundation is poured. For the year to date, Montreal is 27 per cent ahead of last year, while Laval and the North Shore are down seven per cent. The South Shore is up eight per cent, and Vaudreuil-Soulanges is up seven per cent.
  8. Toronto residents thought landlord's notice was an April Fools prank By Natalie Nanowski, CBC News (http://www.cbc.ca/news/cbc-news-online-news-staff-list-1.1294364) Posted: Apr 04, 2017 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 04, 2017 4:11 PM ET Most people expect their rent to go up each year, but not by 100 per cent. So you can imagine the shock AJ Merrick and Jon Moorhouse experienced when they got a letter from their landlord. "I thought it was an April Fools joke," said Merrick, a young marketing professional. "There's no way I'd pay that much for this apartment." But it wasn't a joke. Their two-bedroom condo located near Liberty Village was going up from $1,660 to $3,320. The notice outlined two options, either accept the rent increase or agree to vacate the unit by July 1. Wondering 'what good it would do to fight it' The letter AJ Merrick and Jon Moorhouse received about their rent increase. (Jon Moorhouse) "I just don't know what good it would do to fight it," Moorhouse said. "Realistically, they're probably trying to kick us out so they can sell the unit for the most profit." CBC Toronto tried to contact the company in charge of the rental unit, Urbancorp, which is described on its website as the "premier developer of the King West neighbourhood." The company's number is no longer in service and emails to their address listed online bounced. The company announced it had to undergo restructuring in April 2016 under the Bankruptcy Act. The lawyers handling that restructuring also didn't answer emails or calls Monday or Tuesday. A rent increase of 100 per cent is completely legal given the 1991 loophole, known formally as Bill 96. Buildings built after 1991 'the Wild West' It was introduced by the province two decades ago and allows landlords of any building constructed after 1991 to increase rent as they see fit. "This is a very shocking example of how broken the system is," said Coun. Josh Matlow, who chairs the city's tenant issues committee. "Buildings in this province built after 1991 are sort of the Wild West." Matlow, along with Coun. Ana Bailao, are pushing Ontario to change the Residential Tenancies Act (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/city-council-committees-renters-tenants-changes-residential-tenancies-act-1.4049369), especially after CBC Toronto's No Fixed Address (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/the-best-of-no-fixed-address-1.4022761) investigative series revealed that renters across the city were being priced out of their homes. Ontario is currently reviewing the legislation and Matlow says he'd like to sit down with the province when it's rewriting the rules. "Big changes need to be made as to how tenants are treated in this province, so that Toronto doesn't just become a playground for the rich. We want Toronto to be affordable and accessible." Days may be numbered for 1991 rule On Tuesday, Mayor John Tory weighed in with a similar message. "The private sector, in carrying out their own activities with respect to the rents they charge, should be very careful about what they do in instances like this because it can provoke the kind of legislative and policy reaction that is something they say would be very much against the interests of future construction of rental accommodation in the city of Toronto," said Tory. "And that would be a very bad thing for tenants and a very bad thing for the economy. " On Monday, Matlow and Bailao, who chairs the city's affordable housing committee, held a special joint meeting of their two committees at city hall where they presented eight recommendations to help regulate Toronto's rental market. Some of the recommendations include expanding rent control to buildings built after 1991, improving the supply of rental units and building homes in the city's laneways. Premier Kathleen Wynne hinted Tuesday that the days may be numbered for the 1991 rule. "The reality is, that there hasn't been rental built. There have not been rental buildings built in any comprehensive way and so that argument does not actually hold water with me at this point," Wynne said. The councillors' recommendations will be presented to the mayor's executive committee and council in the coming weeks. As for Moorhouse and Merrick, they're going to start looking for a new place to live. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/rent-toronto-condo-tenants-1.4054056
  9. Avison Young Montreal | 2008 Review and 2009 Forecast | 2008 In Review At the start of 2008, a strong Canadian dollar negatively impacted the province’s export industry. However, Montreal still posted positive economic growth of 1.7% for the year.2008 was a challenging year for the Montreal economy. The combination of a strong Canadian dollar for most of the year and the recent financial crisis in the United States negatively impacted the province’s export industry. Quebec’s economy is positioned in industrial sectors that are lagging or in a slump, such as the clothing, forestry, furniture and manufacturing industries. However, despite all this, Montreal still posted positive economic growth of 1.7% in 2008. Employment grew by 1.3% in the year and is anticipated to increase by another 1.5% in 2009. Consumer spending remained high and has contributed tremendously to economic growth. Office Engineering firms, many of whom are expanding to support major infrastructure projects in the province, spurred demand for office space. Downtown office vacancy closed the year at 5.4%, a significant drop from 6.2% at the end of 2007 and 9% at the end of 2006. The decrease in vacancyrates in the downtown market was accompanied by only a slight increase in rental rates. The suburban office vacancy rate has remained stable over the past four years, and closed the year at 13.1%. In 2008, 400,000 square feet (sq. ft.) of space was absorbed in the market, significantly lower than the 2007 absorption of 1.37 million sq. ft. Absorption of office space has been modest due to lack of quality space. Certainly, what is left of quality office space in downtown Montreal is quickly being absorbed, and options for tenants are becoming increasingly limited. Industrial Montreal’s manufacturing sector has been strongly affected by the rise in the value of the Canadian dollar. As a result, the industrial market has moved away from manufacturing to logistics and distribution type industries that drove demand for industrial space in Montreal. These types of companies require smaller spaces with greater clear heights. Consequently, vacancy rates increased for large spaces of 100,000 sq. ft. and more, whereas spaces between 15,000 and 25,000 sq. ft. became increasingly more difficult to find. Buildings with clear heights of 24 feet are in great demand and have an extremely low vacancy rate of approximately 1%. The rental rates for these buildings have therefore increased. Limited availability of appropriate space motivated tenants to construct built–to-suit projects that provide the amenities they require. Many of the older, more obsolete buildings are being demolished or completely renovated by developers. Retail Substantial consumer demand in Montreal created an active retail market in 2008, and retail sales rose by 5.5% in the year. In the downtown core’s central area, rental rates have quadrupled and vacancies are nonexistent. Rental rates closed the year at between $200 to $215 psf at the corner of Ste-Catherine and Peel Streets. Newcomers to Ste-Catherine Street include Apple Computer’s first Montreal retail location at 1321 Ste-Catherine Street West and H&M at the corner of Peel Street, with 20,000 sq. ft. Investment The financial crisis in the United States has softened the investment market in Montreal. Assets offered for sale require a longer exposure period. Investors using financial leverage as the basis for investment are having trouble completing acquisitions, thus diminishing the occurrence of successful transactions. As a result capitalization rates increased by approximately 25 basis points this year. Despite this, many successful transactions were completed earlier in 2008. Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. invested approximately $100 million to acquire a 50% interest in 1981 McGill College, together with a major financial partner that acquired the remaining 50%. Cominar REIT acquired 2001 McGill College for $165 million. Canderel and Proment sold the first Phase of the Bell Campus for $185 million to a German real estate investment fund. 2009 Forecast Office Montreal is the only city in Canada with no significant downtown office construction projects. Until recently, large tenants have been able to find suitable alternatives that were much less expensive than proposed new projects. However, as vacancy rates continue to plunge, the availability of quality space will become even more limited. Tenants will soon have no choice but to consider one of the new construction projects. Expect to see the beginning of one or two office construction projects in 2009. Potential office developments include Canderel’s development of 1201-1215 Phillips Square, Hines’ development of 900 de Maisonneuve, Magil Laurentienne’s office or mixed-use building at 701 University and Westcliff’s development of Phase 2 of Place de la Cité Internationale. Quebec’s 2008 budget aimed to stimulate business investment by eliminating tax on capital for manufacturers and by offering a tax credit for the purchase of manufacturing equipment and a tax credit for new information technology companies. Accordingly, the Province of Quebec agreed to provide investment banking giant Morgan Stanley with $60 million in tax credits for opening a new global technical support centre in Montreal. Morgan Stanley is currently searching for office space in anticipation of bringing staff levels to 500 or more. Phase 1 of the new Bell campus on Nun’s Island was officially opened in August of this year. Phase 2 is anticipated to be ready for occupancy in February 2009. It will comprise 235,000 sq. ft. of office space and amenities, bringing the total to 840,000 sq. ft. A third phase is also planned, thus bringing the campus total to approximately 1.4 million sq. ft. The downtown core office market has absorbed a large percentage of the space formerly occupied by Bell. Retail In 2009, Canadians will likely be faced with weakening job prospects, tighter credit conditions and economic uncertainty, thus leading to moderated consumer spending. Retail sales are expected to grow by only 3.5% in 2009, as opposed to the 5.5% growth seen in 2008. Demand for space on Ste-Catherine Street will slow dramatically in 2009. As a result, retail vacancy rates are anticipated to increase and if retail sales continue to lag, we expect to see some retailers walking away from stores that do not perform. This will give tenants the upper hand in lease negotiations. Industrial The diminishing strength of the Canadian dollar will benefit the export industry in 2009. Demand for industrial space will likely come from the logistics, distribution and aerospace industries. We anticipate the overall vacancy rate to increase, as more space comes to market and older buildings that lack required ceiling heights remain empty. However, the vacancy rate for smaller buildings with adequate clear heights will remain low. Rental rates for the older, more obsolete buildings will decrease and rates for newer, smaller spaces with adequate ceiling heights will remain flat. Industrial construction activity will continue to slow in 2009 as a result of financing difficulties coupled with high land and construction costs. However, industrial growth will continue off the island of Montreal due to lower land costs and higher availability. Investment Banks have tightened credit significantly and consequently, financing is more difficult to obtain. Borrowers that lack liquidity will likely have difficulty acquiring assets. This, however, will leave the door open for REITs and international investors with capital at their disposal. In 2009, we anticipate a general slowdown in the investment market. The majority of investment sales deals in 2009 will be concentrated on a few portfolio deals; mostly smaller transactions involving retail and warehouse properties. Prices for commercial real estate product will likely decrease and cap rates will increase by 50 to 100 basis points. http://www.avisonyoung.com/library/pdf/National/forecast2009.pdf Également présent dans la section "Ressources".
  10. Je pense que ça va vous faire plaisir... LORI MCLEOD Globe and Mail Update April 16, 2008 at 1:43 PM EDT Montreal has edged ahead of midtown Manhattan to create an all-Canadian list of the top five office rental markets in North America in the first quarter of 2008, according to a study released Wednesday by real estate brokerage Cushman Wakefield & LePage. Canada's five largest cities had the lowest office vacancy rates of the 15 major leasing markets in North America in the first three months of the year, according to Cushman Wakefield's data. Downtown Montreal took fifth spot on the list with a vacancy rate of 5.8 per cent, but posted the largest year-over-year drop at 3.5 percentage points due to strong demand and a lack of new supply. This caused it to squeak by midtown Manhattan, the strongest market in the United States, with an office vacancy rate of 6 per cent. “Montreal has experienced years of virtual stagnation in the office leasing market. But slow and steady economic growth and a lack of new development over the past decade have transitioned Montreal from a tenant market to a landlord market,” Colum Bastable, president and chief executive officer of Cushman & Wakefield, said in a statement. At a vacancy rate of just 2.6 per cent, Vancouver had the tightest downtown office rental market of the 15 cities included in the study. This was followed by Calgary at 3.6 per cent, Toronto at 3.9 per cent, Ottawa at 4.1 per cent and Montreal at 5.8 per cent. The city with the highest downtown office vacancy rate was Dallas at 28.7 per cent, far greater than the next on the list, Los Angeles, at 13.5 per cent. The sharpest rise in vacancy rate occurred in Calgary, growing to 4.5 per cent in the first quarter from a low of 1.4 per cent in the same period of 2007. Vacancies remained tight in Class A downtown buildings in the city at a rate of just 1.8 per cent. Despite a weakening provincial economy and three new office towers under construction, Toronto's vacancy rates continue to decline, Mr. Bastable said. The study also measured vacancy rates in suburban areas, where Canada's market was again tighter than that of the U.S. Toronto's suburbs had the lowest vacancy rate of these markets in the first quarter at 7.2 per cent, followed by those of Calgary at 7.4 per cent, Ottawa at 7.5 per cent, Vancouver at 9.3 per cent and Montreal at 11.2 per cent. The suburbs of Dallas had the highest vacancy rate at 21.5 per cent, followed by those of central New Jersey at 20.3 per cent and Chicago at 19 per cent. “All of Canada's major markets are well positioned to weather an economic downturn. Years of conservative and prudent development, along with low interest rates, will work to keep supply and demand in relative equilibrium even as the economy and demand slacken,” Mr. Bastable said. source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl...tory/Business/