30 Sep Montreal’s Renaissance As A Business And Luxury Center Of Canada
Feature photo by ©Bonnie Meisels
Montreal’s Renaissance As A Business And Luxury Center Of Canada
Montreal’s renaissance as a business and luxury center of Canada is referenced in the recent New York Times article “A Luxury Building Boom Hits Montreal” by Aili McConnon. One can’t help notice the transforming downtown core with all the construction cranes and new development projects underway. “The largest of the developments is the new Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Montreal, a more than $200 million hotel and condo project that highlights the city’s renaissance as a business and luxury center of Canada. This current revitalization of the Golden Square Mile mirrors the larger comeback of Montreal.”
For many years, and much political instability, Montreal paid a great price as many companies and talented people migrated to other Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver. But, over the past few years, as Montreal has returned to political stability, businesses have begun to return.
Montreal As A World Leader In Artificial Intelligence
Montreal has become a hub for technology. In fact Montreal now has a reputation for being one of the world’s emerging AI advanced research centres and top talent pools in the suddenly very hot tech trend. Facebook just announced it is creating an artificial intelligence research lab in Montreal, and last fall Google said that it would open a similar facility there.
MONTREAL-Facebook has become the latest technology company to dig into Montreal’s burgeoning artificial intelligence sector, announcing the opening of a research lab in the city Friday. The lab, known as FAIR Montreal, is headed by Joelle Pineau, a professor in McGill University’s computer science department and co-director of Reasoning and Learning Lab.
“The stable political environment in Montreal these last years, especially when we take into consideration the more unstable global environment created by Brexit and other elections in Europe, has made Montreal more attractive to business and leisure visitors,” said Denis Coderre, Montreal’s mayor
“The Montreal economy is booming,” Mr. Coderre said, adding that the unemployment rate had reached one of its lowest levels since 2010, the labor force was growing and investments were increasing. New taxes on foreign investors in Toronto and Vancouver also appear to have played a part.”
There are big plans for Montreal’s Four Seasons Hotel. The project includes a 166-room hotel and 18 condos priced from nearly $3 million to over $12 million. The location of the hotel will be directly connected to the 250,000 square foot-luxury Ogilvy/Holt Renfrew department store. The condos, which went on sale this June and range from 2,886 to 6,910 square feet. The largest penthouse includes a home gym and 2,060-square foot terrace with a fire pit and the option of a pool. According to J. Allen Smith, the Four Seasons chief executive: aside from business, the city of Montreal has “cultural sophistication, European influences and storied history.”
Another hotel in the downtown core, the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel just reopened its doors this summer after a $114 million renovation.
With a recent surge of visitors, Montreal is on track to hit 11.2 million tourists by the end of 2017, up 20 percent from 2013, according to the Conference Board of Canada and Tourisme Montreal.
But over the last decade, after the city’s politics had stabilized, companies started to come back. New start-ups have popped up, for example, particularly in the fields of technology, artificial intelligence and gaming. Facebook just announced it is creating an artificial intelligence research lab in Montreal, and last fall Google said that it would open a similar facility there.