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The changing face of housing in CDN-NDG
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 25 mai 2011

Photo: Ingrid Wissink

Le Seville project representative Jody Diner shows in the showroom.

Still more condominium developments are appearing in CDN-NDG while social housing progress remains at a standstill. Developers claim that there is great demand for luxury units, while social rights groups worry about the urgent need for affordable housing.

The face of Côte-des-Neiges-NDG is changing rapidly, as many pieces of land have become prime real estate. New condominium developments are popping up in several locations, as developers snap up land, occupied or not, for their projects.

Construction, as well as competition for clients, is underway at several sites, including two on Monkland, two corners of Jean-Talon, at Barclay and Darlington, and another coming later at Sherbrooke and Prud’homme. Many of the sites have already sold more than 50% of the units.

Real estate broker Melanie Kimpton says the developments on Monkland were a response to “high demand for the high-end.”

The Melrose Terrace project promises a luxury experience for those able to afford it, as prices begin at $579,000. The building will feature a rooftop pool, sizable personal terraces, and interior parking.

Developments such as these are good news for some, such as young executives and those moving to Montreal from more expensive cities, but social rights groups have long denigrated the city’s disregard for the urgent need for social housing in the borough. The organization has been pressuring officials to encourage developers to build more than the required percentage of affordable units, as the poverty rate in the borough is high at 40 per cent and many residents live in substandard buildings at inflated prices.

Leslie Bagg of the N.D.G. Community Council plans on bringing up the potential site at St. Jacques and Upper Lachine roads at a borough council meeting. City officials have mentioned plans for building as many as 300 units on the site, and council hopes that a reasonable amount of these units would be affordable to “offset the gentrification” resulting from condo installation.

While Bagg recognizes that gentrification has “good and bad” results, she fears “those with low income will find it harder and harder to live here, as it will get more and more expensive in the area. Our biggest fears of gentrification centre on the St. Raymond area, which has the highest poverty rates.”

Bagg has noted that single parents are emerging as those most in need of affordable living space, and hopes the upcoming Maison Montroi, a residence for women, will respond in part to certain needs.
Meanwhile, Lavoye calls the Monkland Village penthouses an “upscale development for those who enjoy the high class.”

The Seville Project, to be constructed at Barclay and Darlington, offers more affordable units starting at $143,000. However, real estate ownership remains a distant goal for the many recent immigrants, seniors, and low-income families who make up a large portion of the borough’s population.

[ Ingrid Wissink ]

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