Montreal ponders world class mixed-use project
Royalmount, a 3.6-million-sq.-ft. mixed-use development being promoted as an era-defining addition to downtown Montreal, has gotten a boost with the arrival of a key partner.
L Catterton Real Estate (LCRE), an international private equity firm whose sponsorship partners include Moet-Hennessey-Louis Vuitton (LVMH) is partnering with locally based developer Carbonleo to bring the project to fruition. LCRE has a reputation for projects with high level s of architecture, design, and tenants.
The two partnered on a “Future Lab” calling upon real estate, retail, and design experts from around to world to envision what form Royalmount should take. Among ideas suggested were an Italian-influenced piazza with two levels of terraced restaurants and shops surrounding it; an outdoor theater that could mechanically be transformed into a 5,000-seat theater, and a restaurant row featuring gourmet cuisine.
“We’re looking to generate new ideas for human connectivity. We want to go outside our zone of comfort,” said Carbonleo chairman Andrew Lutfy in a videotaped at Future Lab. “This is an unbelievable opportunity for Montreal. We have a blank canvas.”
Lutfy got agreement from Debra Margles, president of Michael Kors Canada. “Royalmount has a phenomenal opportunity to make this city a very important destination,” she said.
LCRE partner and chief development officer David Gester expressed confidence that all the right brands would join the party in Montreal. “There’s eight major luxury brands in the world. As long as they’re all treated equitably, they’ll all come,” he said.
In the partnership announcement, LCRE managing partner Mathieu Le Bozec commented that “with its underlying vision, Royalmount will be one of the most innovative real estate projects in the world.”
Aquarium coming to Fort Lauderdale Galleria
The JLL-managed Galleria Fort Lauderdale has scored and experiential coup.
The mall will be the home of the first Florida location for SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium, a concept that brings 1,200 animals including sharks, otters, stingrays, and exotic birds to shopping centers.
Galleria Fort Lauderdale, like so many other malls, has been upgrading its dining and entertainment offerings of late, adding the Florida Children’s Theater, Coopers Hawk Winer, and Stefano Versace Gelato.
SeaQuest is set to open at the east end of the mall in November.
New day dawning for developers and local government officials?
Some three years ago, Phillips Edison & Company, the largest owner of necessity-based centers in the United States, created a community engagement program. As head, the company named former coffee shop owner and current VP of economic development Scott Adair.
As Adair traveled PECO’s vast property map, ranging from California to Texas to Massachusetts, and spent time with mayors, urban planners, and development directors, he quickly realized two things: One, they all spoke a common language that was foreign to him and, two, he had to learn it to succeed in his mission.
This month, Adair can confidently talk the talk, having completed a 117-hour certificate program given by the University of Oklahoma and accredited by the International Economic Development Council. Adair feels strongly that more developers could benefit themselves and the communities they serve by taking the course.
“At one of the course’s institutes held in Fort Worth, there were 300 participants and I was the only developer,” Adair recalled. “Here were all these cities and counties and states and I was there wondering why there weren’t more developers in attendance because all of these officials were tripping over each other looking for opportunities.”
The really good news for developers who mix with economic development professionals, Adair said, is that all are very aware that most local economic growth comes from the retention and expansion of businesses already operating in their communities.
“Everyone wants Amazon Headquarters Two, but those opportunities are few and far between. The actual results are greater if you focus on the existing businesses,” he says.
PECO has already realized tangible benefits from its newfound insights into working with municipal officials. When Dominick’s left as anchor tenant of the Baker Hill shopping center in Glen Ellyn, Ill., five years ago, the town let PECO recoup some $1.25 million in sales taxes to keep the center running up to speed. A Pete’s Fresh Market has since taken Dominick’s place.
“I think that this old conception of the big, bad developer that comes into town and ruins everything is going away,” Adair said.