Four Seasons Hotels Inc’s $250-million hotel-condo project in downtown Montreal is expected to heighten the city’s standing as a luxury destination.
However, the five-star development has come at a time when building construction in the city is approaching its diffusion point, with numerous high-end condos rising, including several new lavish and boutique hotels in the works, especially nearby Mount Stephen Hotel.
Based in Toronto, Four Seasons has collaborated with Quebec property developer and manager, Carbonleo Real Estate Inc. On the hotel project, to be situated on de la Montagne Street. The intended 163-room establishment will comprise of 18 condos selling in the $4-million to $20-million range.
The project, which marks the return of the Four Seasons chain to Montreal after being absent for about two decades, beckons for a direct connection to the storied Ogilvy department store on Ste. Catherine Street, that is presently being refurbished and rebranded in a merger with the local Holt Renfrew outlet.
Montreal’s housing market has been vigorously built up over the recent years, with many luxury establishments failing to find buyers. Since 2000, only two houses priced above $5-million have been sold, based on information from the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board.
“It would make sense for promoters to be cautious and not inundate the market with too many projects,” said Paul Cardinal, director of market analysis at the Fédération des chambres immobilières du Québec.
Presently, there are 4,300 condo units still under construction in the heart of Montreal, Hélène Bégin, senior economist with Desjardins Economics, said, citing Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. figures.
“The market is in surplus mode. It would be premature for developers to step on the accelerator,” she said.
However, J. Allen Smith, Four Seasons president, and chief executive officer regards Montreal as a magnet for the jet-set crowd and is relying on the efficacy of the current successful global luxury hotel business.
“Montreal is one of North America’s great cities – a vibrant urban destination that has long appealed to luxury travellers drawn to its European flair and cultural sophistication,” he said.
Luxury hotels are doing quick business as demand for pampered lodging increases with the growth in the world’s population of ultra-high-net-worth individuals revealing assets of more than $30-million (U.S.).
According to a 2015 report by Transparency Market Research, dwelling in an estimate of $148.6-billion two years ago, the international luxury hotel market is forecasted to attain $195.2-billion by 2021.
Andrew Torriani, the CEO and general manager of the Ritz-Carlton Montreal, which carried out its own major revamping six years ago, that comprises of a condo element, stated that he isn’t bothered by the arrival of a second five-star establishment.
Instead, he sees Four Seasons’ return as a sign of the city’s “comeback”.
“This reflects well on Montreal,” he said, referring to the terrible times in the 1990s when the city had no five-star hotel.
“We went through political turmoil,” he said, reflecting on the uncertainty following the return to power of the separatist Parti Québécois and the second referendum on sovereignty in 1995.
“The hotel industry had to re-establish itself and catch up in the 2000s.”
Carbonleo chairman Andrew Lutfy stated: “Our vision is to create an architectural ode to extraordinary urban living that will help redefine Montreal’s famous Golden Square Mile.”