The City of Shawinigan announces the sale of land to a private developer who will build 140 apartments there at a time when the vacancy rate for rental accommodation is practically zero.

This is an encouraging initiative in the context of a shortage of rental housing across Quebec, which is accentuated by the “not in my backyard” syndrome, which has succeeded in blocking residential projects.

In Shawinigan, the municipal administration called for tenders and selected the Terrasse des papetiers project from the real estate company Firma, from Île-Perrot.

Founded in 2017, this developer-builder builds an average of 150 homes per year. In recent years, he has delivered housing in the areas of Vaudreuil, L’Île-Perrot and Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.

This is not Firma’s first winning bid in a call for tenders. “We have already won a call for tenders from the City of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield for 41 housing units and another in Saguenay,” explains Jérôme Thibeault, co-founder of Firma.

The former banker believes that the commitment of a city in a tender contributes to the success of the project. “Yes, it helps, because in the scoring grid used to choose the winning proposal, it is not the price that is the most important criterion. It helps us to be able to get our hands on land at reasonable prices and to be able to do great projects. »

However, using competitive bidding to stimulate housing construction is no guarantee of success. For example, the City of Montreal issued a condition-laden tender for the sale of land at the racetrack in October 2022. As a result, no bids were filed.

In Thibeault’s experience, successful cities tend to have fewer strings attached.

The winning project can quickly move forward, because it is by right, we confirm at Shawinigan City Hall. The zoning of the site of the former Laurentide pulp and paper mill in the Grand-Mère sector of Shawinigan was modified accordingly beforehand.

The project is being rolled out in three phases of three buildings in total. The architect is the firm Domus. The first two buildings each provide 40 apartments over four floors, then the third, 60 over six floors, for a total of 140 apartments.

The land is located near the marina and the cultural center.

“The residences along the Saint-Maurice River are very popular, and I am very happy that the residential project chosen by our committee takes into account the historical and economic context of the city, and more particularly, the Grand-Mère sector”, said, in a press release, the mayor of Shawinigan, Michel Angers.

Firma Group estimates the overall cost of the project at 50 million. Work will begin in April 2024. Delivery of the first phase will follow a year later. All three phases are expected to be delivered in full in 2027. Units will be leased to Chester.