By Craig Patterson
Montreal-based landlord Ivanhoé Cambridge has announced that it will be opening a new ‘gourmet biergarten’ at its Place Ville Marie property in downtown Montreal. Scheduled to open in late 2019, it will be the second such large-format culinary destination in an Ivanhoé Cambridge property in the core of the city.
The 35,000 square foot space will be located under a glass pavilion which will be built as part of the updated Place Ville Marie Esplanade, and will be named Le Cathcart Restaurants et Biergarten, according to Ivanhoé Cambridge. It will be able to accommodate more than 1,000 patrons at a time and will have 15 unique restaurant concepts such as resto-bars, bistros and cafés, and will include three restaurants that will have table service.
Several well-known Montreal chefs will be part of the mix, including Antonio Park. Ivanhoé Cambridge notes that the destination will fulfill “a social and cultural vocation” which will also feature a multifunctional space that can host one-of-a-kind events.
As per the ‘biergarten’ name, the premisses will be licensed with a wide variety of wine and cocktails, as well as an expansive selection of local beers. All will be chosen by renowned mixologists and sommeliers. As a nod to the biergarten concept, a lively, bright and spacious interior garden-like environment will welcome guests in a “lively urban square in the heart of a busy district with festive terraces,” that will “echo Montreal’s lively street vibe, acting as a true indoor extension of the city.”
Le Cathcart Restaurants et Biergarten will be open seven days a week year-round and will cater to a wide variety of visitors that frequent the busy Place Ville Marie complex including locals working and visiting the area, tourists, and those seeking out urban activities. “Le Cathcart Restaurants et Biergarten will quickly become a destination of choice for business lunches, happy hours and festive evenings,” said the landlord.
“We’re delighted to be working with Quebec entrepreneurs to offer a whole new gastronomic experience at Place Ville Marie,” added Bernard Poliquin, Senior Vice President, Office, Quebec, at Ivanhoé Cambridge. “Le Cathcart Restaurants et Biergarten will become a place of choice for business networking in downtown Montreal.”
The food hall will be located in a former food court, and is part of a $200-million revitalization of the massive Place Ville Marie complex which includes a 190,000 square foot retail concourse at the base of four massive office towers above encompassing nearly 2.4-million square feet, housing about 10,000 workers. The retail component sees about 17.2-million annual visitors and houses some significant retail tenants including Browns Shoes, L'Occitane en Provence, Jean-Paul Fortin, Murale and The Keg restaurant. Years ago it housed Holt Renfrew as a tenant when the luxury retailer operated a network of smaller stores.
“We want to celebrate Place Ville Marie’s central location by creating a unique point of access to the underground city,” said Jean Pelland, Architect and Senior Partner at Sid Lee Architecture. “The glass pavilion is an ideal setting for the interior garden, a space bathed in natural light and filled with greenery, where gourmet and festive gatherings will take place.”
Ivanhoé Cambridge is investing more than $1-billion in downtown Montreal in its various properties, dubbed ‘Projet Nouveau Centre’ which is helping revitalize the core of Canada’s second-largest city. In the spring of this year, as well, Ivanhoé Cambridge announced that as part of the overhaul of its Montreal Eaton Centre property, the landlord partnered with Time Out to open a Time Out Market food concept, which is also scheduled to open in late 2019. The 36,000 square foot Time Out Market Montreal will include a mix of 16 food offerings, two bars, a demonstration kitchen, a cooking academy, a retail shop and a 'cultural stage’, and will anchor the $200 million redevelopment at Centre Eaton de Montreal, which will involve joining the existing Montreal Eaton Centre property with the adjacent Complexe Les Ailes. More than 30-million people will pass through the combined centre in what will be Canada’s second-busiest centre in terms of annual footfall (surpassed only by CF Toronto Eaton Centre).
Food halls and food markets are being used to drive foot traffic to retail properties, and several landlords in Canada have announced large-format culinary concepts. On Friday of this week, the 40,000 square foot ‘Market & Co.’ food market concept will open at Oxford Properties’ Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, just north of Toronto. When open, a demonstration kitchen as well as 18 best-in-class local merchants and first-to-market eateries will enhance the overall shopping centre experience. Local vendors and restaurants are the primary tenants. Market & Co. is the third food market announcement that Oxford Properties has made over the past several months. In March, it announced that Les Galeries de la Capitale in Quebec City would be adding an innovative food marketplace that will also feature the second location for RICARDO Boutique + Café. As well, Oxford Properties announced in June that it would be creating a ‘Food District’ at its massive Square One property in Mississauga.
Landlord QuadReal, as well, has announced that it will be opening large-format food concepts at its Oakridge Centre property in Vancouver, as well as at ‘The Post’ in downtown Vancouver which replaces a former Canada Post distribution centre.
Food and beverage is being used by landlords to drive traffic to properties and more large-format food concepts are said to be in the works. Consumers are increasingly seeking-out ‘experiences’ and a diverse food market, with the right tenants (including a healthy dose of ‘Instagramable moments’) will keep customers coming back. And that’s key as well — we as humans tend to dine more than we shop for most other items, and the theory is that repeat visits to a food destination will also translate into increased foot traffic from visitors that might shop at other retail in the same area as well.