DCN ARCHIVES

September 21, 2004

An artist’s rendering of part of commercial development planned for multi-faceted Lac Mirabel project.

Drawing courtesy DESIGN INTERNATIONAL

$350M Mirabel project to boost local economy

IRWIN RAPOPORT

DCN CORRESPONDENT

MONTREAL

As reported in Daily Commercial News yesterday, the Connecticutbased Gordon Group plans to build a $350-million entertainment, commercial and educational development in Mirabel, some 35 kilometers northwest of Montreal.

More details on the project, known as “Lac Mirabel,” were made public at a press conference in downtown Montreal.

The chief partners in the Canadian/ American project are the Gordon Group, Rubin Stahl (former president of the West Edmonton Mall—WEM) and Dessau Soprin, an engineering group, along with its planning partners at the Groupe Gauthier Biancamano Bolduc (GGBB), who are responsible for assembling the partners and leading the project’s design and completion.

“It’s definitely a go,” said GGBB’s Louis Grenier, director of the project.

“The preliminary work is to begin in the spring of 2005 for the opening in 2007. There is a lot of preparation work to be done on the ground.”

Thus far, no architects or general contractors have been hired, but Grenier believes it’s most likely that one architectural firm will supervise the work of others that will be working on individual components of the project, and that several general contractors will be hired to complete the individual components.

The plan is to start construction on all the components simultaneously. Grenier expects that the tendering process will begin in the next few months.

The 325-acre site will include: A seven-acre artificial lake; the largest indoor aquarium in Canada; a large educational entertainment facility focused on children to be called the Kidtropolis; a vast retail and entertainment centre featuring a small-scale marina, a food emporium, a terrasse along the shoreline and a roller coaster; and one hotel, although the plan calls for two more hotels down the road.

The majority of the parking spaces will be above ground, but Grenier noted that this would depend on the number of spots the city allows on the property. The land, already zoned for commercial use, is adjacent to the Laurentian Autoroute and is located in an area already identified for the construction of an overpass and roads to service the new development.

A residential component, to occupy approximately 20 per cent of the site, is being planned, but still needs to be approved by Mirabel’s urban planning committee. Planning for the project has taken about two-and-a-half years.

Studies are still needed to determine how many rooms the first hotel will have and whether it will be run by the developers or managed by a hotel chain. The stores in the single-storey shopping centre will range from middle to high-end.

“We predict that the establishment of the project in Mirabel will give the surrounding municipalities a dynamic boost,” said Grenier.

“Once the project is completed, residents of the greater Montreal area will be attracted to Lac Mirabel’s educational resources and recreational facilities.”

Stahl says the Lac Mirabel development should better than the West Edmonton Mall.

“The designers at Design International and the engineers are already hard at work with the drawings for our artificial lake, the indoor aquarium that will house over 20,000 animal species and Kidtropolis,” he said.

“Lac Mirabel will be unique in the world and is destined to become a sought after tourist attraction.”

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