A Pivotal Year for District 55
“It was a key feature for us, and it’s going to bring traffic to District 55. We were already in discussions with several banners, and as of last week we have re-opened communications to inform them of this new addition.”
– Nathalie Laberge
“It was a key feature for us, and it’s going to bring traffic to District 55. We were already in discussions with several banners, and as of last week we have re-opened communications to inform them of this new addition. We finally have an opening date and can now move forward,” says Nathalie Laberge, District 55’s General Manager.
Shortly after last November’s election, some city council members hinted that they wanted more information about the Coliseum project. Without necessarily expressing disapproval of the project, they felt they did not have enough information to make an informed decision in awarding the contract. Since this time, thirteen of the fourteen councillors have voted in favour of the project, but when the concern was raised just a few weeks before the holidays, it certainly had District 55’s promoters worried, as they had already put lot of money into the coliseum’s construction for the project’s future development.
“Our negotiations with banners cover a number of elements, including traffic at the site,” says Laberge. “The coliseum’s construction clearly meets this criterion, but other criteria may include the availability of parking and other vectors to attract customers.”
As a result, Groupe Robin is currently approaching restaurants and entertainment partners, which have shown a marked interest in the last week. “We are now able to move these discussions along and finalize agreements. 2018 will undoubtedly be a pivotal year for District 55,” says Laberge, adding that while she doesn’t want to spoil the surprise, we can “expect big announcements” this year.
District 55 faces its own set of challenges, particularly with respect to the development of the project’s planned residential sector. Development has all but come to a halt due to the government’s delayed response to requests to open new streets to pursue development. “We are still waiting for certificates of authorization, which we applied for last April. These long delays are hurting us right now,” says Laberge. “Despite strong residential demand, we are currently unable to open rue des Optimistes and Rue des Loyaux, or even extend Rue de la Création.”
“We are ready to build, but our hands are tied. Actually, we were ready last April and could have delivered rental units last fall, but couldn’t without the certificate of authorization. We hope to get it in the coming weeks because time is pressing. Ideally, the streets should be opened now so that we’re not hampered by ground conditions during the spring thaw,” says Laberge.
Laberge confirmed that the Ministry is being pressured to act on the file as quickly as possible.Back