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Mixed-Use Development in Canadian City Centers


According to an article published in the newspaper The Gazette, a model for retail store long forgotten is being brought back to life in the large urban centers of Canada. It seems that the number of little retail stores installing themselves at ground floor of new residential buildings is rapidly growing, particularly in the case of new condo developments. The increasing density of young professionals in urban centers appears to be the main driver of this unexpected comeback. It is quite a shift when considering the predominant model, based on mega-surface stores located in suburban areas. It can also be interpreted as an indicator of the growing power of attraction of Canadian metropolitan areas. One of the examples used by the journalist of The Gazette is the presence of the new Adonis Market, located at the feet of the Le Seville project. With a floor area of 34,000 square feet, this reasonably proportioned store is very popular among Le Seville residents, who enjoy a direct access to the grocery store, via an indoor entrance. A very convenient store, especially during winter time! The Adonis Market, along with other businesses located in the Seville, such as Starbuck Coffee, Bank of Montreal and the soon to be opened optician Georges Laoun, also benefit from the sustained traffic of other residents from the neighbourhood. According to this article, the cohabitation between residential and commercial space is in fact a logical symbiotic relation. Store owners want to be located as close as possible to the demand, while customers are increasingly asking for proximity services located within a walking distance. With the epidemic congestion of Montreal’s road system, the ever soaring gas prices, the difficulty to find a parking spot and a greater awareness of environmental problems such as climate change, the underling tendency definitively leads to more proximity services and more active ways of commuting. In fact, the message has come to the ears of big players such as Canadian Tire and Wall Mart, who have opened stores in the city centers of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. These smaller stores, often labeled “Express” or “City”, are designed to meet the specific needs of urban dwellers. Mixed-use development is also planned in the upcoming condo project 21e Arrondissement. This time Prével will set the bar even higher: the 21 Arrondissement includes a public square surrounded by different small retail stores.  The square is at the heart of this new development, offering proximity services such as a bakery, a bistro, a coffee shop and a caterer, in a green and relaxing context that will reinvent the words leisure and free time. A public space with the characteristic vibe of the great European squares with Montreal’s distinctive touch. What do you think of mixed-use development in city centers? Let’s dream a little: if you had to make the decision, what stores would you chose to open at the ground floor of your condo? You never know, maybe one day your comments will play a part in the real decisions… 

To read the full article in The Gazette, follow this link

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