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New phases of Griffintown project announced

New phases of Griffintown project announced

A $736-million investment to rejuvenate Griffintown aims to put a new shine on the shoddy industrial area.

Plans were announced Thursday for the second and third phases of the District Griffin real estate project, which included an extra $261 million investment to the $475 million announced last year for phase one.

The first phase is already underway. The group behind the project made the operation official Thursday with a groundbreaking ceremony, where they called it the biggest project of its kind in the city.

"The largest multi-use real estate project in Montreal, which will incorporate residential, commercial, community and business functions on the same site, will transform much of Griffintown for the better," said Serge Goulet, president of Devimko, a real estate developer behind the transformation.

When completed, the project will include 2,103 condominium units, including 331 affordable housing units and 275 social housing units. It will also include a 154-room hotel, 299,000 square feet of office space and 328,000 square feet of commercial space.

"It's a big achievement for this area of the city… it was mainly industrial, vacant land, so now you can see it's a big revitalization of the entire area," said Claude Marcotte of IBI Group.

The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in 2013. Construction for phase two begins in November and work on the third phase starts next spring.

Burden on existing businesses

The neighbourhood redesign, however, is a burden to some local business owners, including Laurin Tremblay, who runs a printing shop on Ann St. Tremblay said the project is driving up rents, and forcing businesses to move out of the area.

"The Griffintown project and speculation about the Griffintown (project) has caused a lot of damage," he said.

"Some of my big clients that were in the area are getting offers for their land and moving away from my business – and at this point this Griffintown project will cause me to cease operation."

Still the city insists the project is part of a real estate boom that will inject funds into the local economy.

"We've never seen this since the 60s and the 70s, since Expo 67 and since the Olympic Games," said executive committee member Richard Deschamps.