Devimco: Irked by demolition, or competition?
Posted by Alison Lampert
Residents were supposed to be gathering Wednesday at a Southwest borough hearing over the demolition of a building at the corner of Wellington and Peel Sts.
Or so I was told by an unlikely source – a public relations specialist who regularly works for the well-connected developer Devimco. In an email to several Gazette reporters this week, André Bouthillier noted that residents would voice their concerns at the meeting over the demolition of the “building which has a certain historical value.”
Now apparently Bouthillier was at the meeting. But from what I heard, there weren’t too many protesters. No Heritage Montreal placards in sight. The project was approved – as long as it respects borough conditions like maintaining part of the façade.
In case you haven’t heard of them, Devimco has a nearly $1 billion plan to redevelop Montreal’s working-class Griffintown district. Indeed, Devimco is behind the construction on the South corner of Peel and Wellington, right across from where the demolition is to make way for an 20-storey, 180 unit condo tower by private developer Diamond Trust.
The demolition of a building from the 1930s is also close to the site of a former gas station that’s to be used for phase 2 of Devimco’s District Griffin project.
In an email, Bouthillier told me that he informed the press about the building out of a personal concern for the protection of Montreal’s heritage – and not on behalf of Devimco.
“It (Devimco) has no interest in the land,” Bouthillier told me.
Company bosses – let alone their spokespeople – rarely talk about other developers’ projects. And when they do it’s in a far more discrete fashion than sending letters out to multiple reporters. I suspect that Devimco has a far greater interest in its rivals’ condos than the developer is letting on.
Devimco has by far the greatest presence in Griffintown of any developer. Perhaps it still isn’t enough.