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Montreal business school embarks on $183M build

Patricia Williams
Montreal business school embarks on $183M build
PROVENCHER_ROY — Construction is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2021 on HEC Montreal’s new building in the downtown business district of Montreal. The Quebec government is investing $93.5 million in the building, which has a total estimated cost of $183.1 million. A construction contract is expected to be awarded in early March and ground broken by early spring.

HEC Montreal, a business school affiliated with the University of Montreal, is poised to break ground within the next few months on a new building in the city’s downtown business district.

Architects Provencher_Roy designed the 24,107-square-metre building that will be constructed on a site next to St. Patrick’s Basilica.

The Quebec government is investing $93.5 million in the building out of a total estimated cost of $183.1 million.

The school and HEC Montreal Foundation are contributing $89.6 million. The project is currently being tendered.

Loretta Cianci, director of the department of campus development, said a construction contract is expected to be awarded in early March.

Ground will be broken by late winter or early spring, Cianci said via email.

The business school, which was founded in 1907, got the green light from the Quebec government to proceed with construction of the new building in May 2018.

The expansion is aimed at bringing the school closer to the business community, in particular by giving downtown workers easier access to its programs.

The new building will also help HEC Montreal foster exchanges with institutional partners. A centre for knowledge transfer and co-innovation bringing together several research and knowledge transfer units will be housed at the new address.

“Our downtown building is being designed to foster collaboration and dialogue by combining local entrepreneurs’ energy with the knowledge derived from academic research,” HEC Montreal director Michel Patry said in a statement.

“By coupling our strengths, we will be better positioned to play a leading role in today’s far-reaching economic and social transformations.”

The school’s Master of Business Administration and Executive Master of Business Administration programs, some specialized graduate diplomas and certain certificates will be offered in the downtown premises.

The school’s executive education programs and those developed for professionals, executives and managers will also be moved there.

The building has been designed to respect and revitalize the block on which it is located.

In a posting on its website, the school said three overarching themes guided the development of the project:

  • Dynamic — a contemporary look in terms of its siting, volumes and materials. Key building materials are glass, wood and concrete.
  • Light — a building that blends into the urban fabric through the contrast between the lightness of the new structure and the mass of its older neighbours.
  • Respectful — taking account of the heritage areas to be protected and creating a dialogue with its surroundings, through the way its facades and angles offer sightlines from rue De La Gauchetiere and cote du Beaver Hall to showcase the adjacent basilica.

The building will accommodate five levels on the Beaver Hall side, six on the Blvd. Rene-Levesque side and eight on the De La Gauchetiere side “so as to be respectfully integrated into the built environment and take into account the existing slope of the site,” Cianci said.

LEED Gold is being targeted. The project includes green roofs, landscaping to promote biodiversity, transplanting trees and mobility-friendly measures.

The school said replacing the outdoor parking lot with indoor public parking will be another significant green measure as this will eliminate a large heat island. The new indoor lot will be equipped with electric vehicle charging stations.

HEC Montreal received cabinet approval to proceed with the project after years of planning and preparations, starting with identifying the most appropriate site and then working with various stakeholders, among them the provincial government, the City of Montreal and representatives of the St. Patrick parish and neighbours.

The aim was to ensure that the project fits into the community and surroundings as seamlessly as possible with respect for the local heritage, the school said.

The project is being undertaken by a team that includes structural/civil engineering consultants SDK/MHA consortium, mechanical-electrical engineering consultants Pageau Morel/Bouthillette Parizeau consortium, and project managers WSP Canada. An integrated design process was adopted.

Construction is scheduled for completion in fall 2021.

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