A new bit of skyline will emerge in the lower part of downtown Montreal during the next fifteen years. Developer Cadillac-Fairview, a real-estate branch of the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, is creating Quad Windsor, a mixed-use development project comprised of nine new buildings centered around Windsor Station.
The two billion dollar project is to be erected across four proposed phases. This excludes the construction of the fifty-story luxury condominium tower Tour des Canadiens and the twenty-six story office building Deloitte Tower that are currently underway in the area. Though no building may exceed the height of Mount Royal’s summit, the residential tower will become the city’s seventh tallest building. Phase 1 will see two, thirty-eight story residential towers built on Sainte Antoine Street West and are to be connected by an aerial walkway. Phase 2 intends to build two commercial office towers on Peel Street complete with retail space and access to the Underground City. Phase 3 will see the construction of three residential towers facing Peel and St. Jacques Street. With townhouses at their base, they will also include retail space as well as an urban park. Finally, in Phase 4, the developer plans to restore Windsor Station by paying particular attention to its architectural and historical significance within the urban landscape.
Montreal’s compact Central Business District concentrates a significant portion of employment opportunities through office and retail space, as well as institutional services. The trajectory of city design has brought about significant changes to the fabric of the city, altering the historical arrangement of streets, axes, and buildings. Currently, the development project has some worried over the fate of Windsor Station. The Romanesque Revival styled structure has stood in its location since 1889, serving as the headquarters for the Canadian Pacific Railway. This major station helped assert Montreal’s prominence as a transportation, industrial, and commercial hub in the Canadian economy.
Residing next to the terminal is the Bell Centre, another dominant structure in the area. As a sports and entertainment complex, it serves hordes of hockey fans and concert goers. This vibrant new district, which will extend Montreal’s downtown further southward, will thus build on the urban lifestyle already in place by increasing the diversity of the land’s uses, as well as increasing the connectivity to surrounding areas, particularly the redeveloped area of Griffintown. Despite the 17:1 ratio of sellers to buyers in the area, the popularity of the new residential units is already evidenced by the sold out Tour des Canadiens Tower.
As dominating architectural forces change hands in Montreal’s CBD, and as investments increase in the new district, it remains to be seen how the new skyscrapers will integrate the historical site of the station into its plans.
What are your thoughts on Quad Windsor's progression? How does your city balance historical preservation with new real estate development?
Credits: Image by Caitlin Dixon. Data and image linked to sources.