The dying Plaza Swatow shopping center, in the heart of Montreal’s Chinatown, will change its vocation to become a hotel establishment.
Posted at 6:00 am
According to the information contained in the building permit, the techno-real estate company Sonder will operate the hotel, although the latter refuses to confirm the information.
The owner of the Swatow, at 998 Saint-Laurent Boulevard, will convert the upper floors of the building into a hotel establishment. The ground floor mall will remain open.
Built at a cost of 20 million in 2009, Place Swatow has six stories above ground and two levels below ground. Three of the floors housed shops, two floors were reserved for offices, and the top floor was occupied by a restaurant.
Ambitions were high at first. Finally, the building has had all sorts of difficulties over the years. The famous Sinorama travel agency, which went bankrupt in 2018, had its offices there.
The owner of the Swatow “has asked the City Council to develop a hotel on the upper floors above the ground floor with a total area of 7,358 m². The project will not entail any modification in the exterior aspect or in the ground level”, reads the documents of the city of Montreal, which had to authorize this conditional use.
“Demand will allow the animation of the ground floor to be maintained by maintaining the grocery store and the shops on the lower floors. In addition, the occupation of the vacant floors by a hotel will allow the perpetuation of a building that could be weakened by being unoccupied for too long”, it is written there to justify the acceptance of the request.
A representative for Swatow could not be reached. An email sent to the address listed on your website has bounced, while the front desk’s voicemail is not receiving messages.
The reconversion works have begun since last March, said Press noting the building permit. The works of the project called “Swatow Plaza Sonder Hotel Development” are estimated at 16 million and are expected to be completed in early 2023.
Sonder, well present in Montreal
Sonder operates a stock of hotel-style rental housing at prices that rival Airbnb. Sonder is in charge of renting accommodation and is not just a transactional platform like Airbnb.
Sonder has no news to share on this specific project at this time, but continues to grow in Montreal. The company has just opened Sonder Maisonneuve, a 157-unit new construction located in the heart of downtown Montreal.
Communication from Sonder to Press through a local public relations agency
Sonder entered into an agreement with the Quebec government in December 2020 to establish its Canadian headquarters there, at 425 Viger Avenue West. It currently employs nearly 200 people in Montreal. It has been announced that the Montreal center, dedicated to technological development, artificial intelligence, finance and customer service, will receive an investment of 182 million and will create 700 jobs by 2025.
For the occasion, Quebec granted him a loan of 25 million and a loan with conditional repayment. (colloquially called a “forgivable” loan) of 5 million. No amount has yet been disbursed, confirms Investissement Québec.
Sonder has obviously suffered during the pandemic. His business is picking up as the lockdown becomes a reality. In the first quarter of 2022, it registered an occupation of 73% of its stock of 7,700 homes. Its quarterly income amounted to 80 million dollars. The company accumulates losses. The company’s title, which has been listed on the NASDAQ since last January, was dragged onto the stock index slide.
In accordance with his business plan, Sonder rents the entire residential building from the owner and then operates it as tourist accommodation. Present in more than 35 cities, Sonder owns seven hotels in Montreal, according to its website. Montreal is among the top five cities where Sonder offers the most rental accommodation, along with New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Dubai.
Sonder was founded in Montreal in 2014 by McGill graduate Francis Davidson. Its headquarters is in San Francisco.
With the collaboration of William Leclerc, Press
- Hotel occupancy rate on the island of Montreal in the first quarter of 2022
Source: Montreal Tourism