Place Ville Marie is first to top $1-billion valuation in Montreal
Place Ville Marie is now valued at $1.006 billion, 15 per cent more than in 2015, according to the newly released 2020-22 municipal valuation roll. It becomes the first Montreal office complex to cross the $1-billion valuation mark, according to real-estate brokers Jean Laurin and André Plourde.
In comparison, the city evaluation for the nearby Complexe Desjardins is $846 million.
Place Ville Marie is in the midst of a multi-year, $200-million redevelopment that will feature revamped facades, a new glass-covered esplanade and a grand staircase to connect the site to McGill College Ave. Known for its main 188-metre cruciform tower, the landmark complex also includes four other buildings, an underground shopping promenade and a parking garage.
The latest jump in valuation is the product of a buoyant economy that has spurred major construction projects such as National Bank of Canada’s future $500-million headquarters. When newly built condo towers are added to the mix, usable space is becoming hard to find for developers — making downtown property even more valuable, according to Laurin, the longtime head of real-estate adviser and broker Devencore.
“I’ve never seen a period of such intense real-estate development activity,” Laurin, who joined Devencore in 1973, told the Montreal Gazette in a telephone interview Thursday. “Appetite for real estate is extremely strong, and you are seeing this reflected in the rising valuations. Institutional investors such as pension funds routinely spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy buildings. When a property hits the market, it could take another 40 or 50 years before it becomes available again.”
Were Place Ville Marie to be put up for sale today, “chances are the market value would exceed the municipal valuation,” Laurin said. This assumes the building wasn’t facing a higher-than-average number of upcoming lease renewals, which would reduce its value, he added.
Ivanhoé Cambridge, the real-estate arm of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, has no plans to sell Place Ville Marie, according to spokesman Sébastien Théberge.
Instead, it sees the complex as the centrepiece of its $1-billion investment plan for downtown, which includes the recent renovation of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, the construction of Maison Manuvie on de Maisonneuve Blvd. W. and the ongoing modernization of the Eaton Centre.
“PVM is the centre of the heart of Montreal and the epicentre for the business community,” Sylvain Fortier, Ivanhoé Cambridge’s chief investment and innovation officer, said Thursday in an email message. “Not only does PVM remain the No. 1 business address in Montreal, but it has also been transformed over the years,” becoming a hub for the creative industry with new tenants like the Sid Lee agency, he said.