The city center is finally getting better, except for the offices

Lifting sanitary measures has brought the greatest benefit to downtown Montreal, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. Five of the six indicator categories showed marked signs of improvement, but “concerns remain” about offices, according to a study updated Monday.

Posted at 7:00 am

Andre Dubuque

Andre Dubuque
Journalism

The improvement is evident in retail. The number of closed businesses is decreasing in the city center. In underground galleries, half of the stores and restaurants that were closed for six months have since reopened, according to the latest version of the study. downtown statusprepared by Montréal center-ville and The Urban Development Institute of Québec (IDU) in partnership with provincial and municipal authorities.

This edition of downtown De Montreal provides an update to the first quarter of 2022 data on the level of activity in six categories of indicators: offices, businesses, housing, higher education, tourism, and transportation. The data is specifically derived from a web-based survey conducted at the beginning of May 2022 among 1,000 residents of the Montreal metropolitan area.

In terms of housing, the study authors are pleased that the residential function of downtown has continued to grow during the two years of the pandemic. There were 26,000 residents in the Ville Mare neighborhood in 2021.

As for public transport, the number of passengers has certainly increased compared to previous quarters, but it remains half of what it was before the pandemic. “In the first quarter of 2022, we found the typical stocks before the pandemic. It’s all about proportions. With remote work, the number of initial flights has gone down,” reads the document unveiled Monday.

Ah, teleworking! He has proven more resilient than downtown supporters had hoped. University seats were neglected by 13% of the group of students who studied remotely in the first quarter of 2022, compared to 4% before the pandemic.

In offices, the proportion of remote workers remains high. At the end of March, the offices available for rent are the equivalent of 40 towers the size of 1000 De La Gauchetière. This percentage is likely to continue rising in the coming months, as reported on Friday Journalism On the first page of the business section.

Jean-Marc Fournier, CEO of the Urban Development Institute, wants to describe this rather bleak picture. “The office market has seen high levels of availability in the past, pricing has been adjusted and the market has eventually recovered,” he said in a phone interview.

Photo Robert Skinner, the press

Jean-Marc Fournier, CEO of the Urban Development Institute of Quebec

He believes that the operation of the Metropolitan Express network will have an impact that is not reflected in the current data. He’s also pleased that the percentage of businesses wanting to stay downtown has risen from 74% to 82% since the last survey last fall.

Downtown Montreal beats call-ups

In order to help patients speed their recovery, downtown Montreal will lead an alliance of about forty partners. The first initiative will be dedicated to highlighting the gems, public spaces and important buildings in the city center.

Other gestures include parking, decorating alleys, receiving visitors, enhancing security and cleanliness, and revitalizing streets.

The concerted action of downtown stakeholders over the past two years is paying off, but it must not be slowed down.

Glenn Castanheira, General Manager of Montreal Center Ville, in a press release

The coalition’s standing committee includes the usual suspects: Governments, the Council of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, the IDU, the Small Chamber of Commerce of Montreal, the Palais des Congrès de Montreal, the Quartier des Spectacles, Tourisme Montreal, and McGill University.



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