Thursday, March 06, 2014

Crafty downtown Anglicans and how they re-jigged real estate thinking

   It's seems up in the air whether this generic skyscraper behind the Christ Church Cathedral at St. Cat and Union is a structure that should make our Montreal hearts swell with pride or not.
   But it undoubtedly makes the Anglicans feel pretty proud, as they deftly maneuvered the deal that made it happen.
   Incredibly, it has been 29 years since the Anglicans pulled off a crafty real estate deal in the heart of the city.
   The Anglicans purchased the land behind their Christ Church Cathdrale between Eaton's and the Bay - presumably for a low-cost - and then leased it to developers on a 99-year emphytheutic lease for the property.
   So the whole shebang - complete with its revenues will revert back to the church in 71 years.
   Those landhold-freehold deals are commune elsewhere, notably in Britain, but thankfully for most homeowners here, they're almost unheard of.
   And indeed the deal was considered the first of its kind in these parts although it is said that others took note and imitated it.
   The church, finished in 1859, saw its diocesan offices demolished and its rectory was moved 15 feet south to allow a 30-storey building (originally slated to be 18-storeys) designed by architect Rene Menkes with the Cooperants Insurance company as the original tenants in 1985.
   Tourists often take photos of the buildings from the corner of St. Catherine - as seen above - as the  vista is supposed to mimic he taller structure. 
   One odd building at the De Maisonneuve/Union SW corner that was demolished contained a portion of an entirely different design. 
   It housed a handbag shop and other offices. Someone on flickr said that it was just as bizarre on the inside as out. 
  By the way, other Montreal structures with emphyteutic leases include the Saputo Stadium, which reverts back after 40 years starting from 2006. The MUHC 1750 Cedar deal is said to have one as well. The Dinasaurium had a 20-year-deal on Notre Dame Island in 1993. One was recommended for the failed Mount Orford deal and one of the school boards has one that confused a few people and led to some tax dispute as I recall. 

10 comments:

gds said...

All the buildings north of Milton on University are emphyteutic leases that belong to McGill University.

The Baton Rouge building next to the Bell Center is also a emphyteutic lease. They are trying to sell the lease to a condo developer for the next 50 years.

erydan said...

Place De La Mode on the corner of St. Denis and Rosemount is also on an emphyteutic lease.

I had always heard Nun's Island was as well but could not back that up.

I think they are pretty common here.

Chevron d'Azur said...

All buildings north of Milton on University are NOT emphyteutic leases belonging to McGill University. I have owned a house there since 1983 and as a lawyer I can assure you that I own it à perpétuité, as do all my neighbours. Some may be emphyteutic, but not all.

I remember a small very French restaurant in the former mews where the Coöperants towers stands
owned by a couple who wrote the bill on the paper table cloth, tax supposedly included but so inexpensive. One day they asked me whether they should renew their lease. They were not aware of the rumours about a new building. I gave them very good advice so they could retire after their new lease was purchased. Lawyers can be thankful when necessary...

Lauriate Roly said...

Please excuse me Kristian. Sorry to be off topic but,
"megaforceatgmail" doesn't work.
Where, may I ask can we write you on other than such a location as this one where I regretfully interrupt the interesting subject to ask an off topic question.
Please excuse my bad manners Kristian, also your devoted fans for interrupting your concentration on the matter at hand.
Lauriate.

Piper said...

'Emphytheutic' - wow, what a great word.
erydan, are you trolling our glorious leader re: Nun's Island?

Kristian Gravenor said...

erydan, a real estate guy once told me that the deal was a big epiphany for him and his company and was a game changer, but I can't even remember who told me that exactly.

And Lauriate, megaforce@gmail.com will get me your note.

protogenes said...

By the way, the second picture in this story was taken on April 7, 1977. How do I know this? I took it ;)

Kristian Gravenor said...

Great photo!

UrbanLegend said...

Incidently, the church's current spire is a lighter-weight replacement of the original one which had to be removed in 1927 for safety reasons.

See this 1950 Gazette article entitled "The Curate Who climbed the Steeple".

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1946&dat=19500121&id=djIrAAAAIBAJ&sjid=SpkFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4013,3644674

emdx said...

Isn't Place Ville-Marie also on such a lease?