Bringing Shining Jewels to the Built Environment

Dév Méta
Written by Karen Hawthorne

Dév Méta Inc., a Montréal-based residential development company, is embarking on some unique undertakings.

The company has put its stamp on a number of boutique developments, including the recently unveiled Marquise VI, a condominium project, and the Rubis by Marquise, a rental project. The two projects are part of the Marquise Complex in the heart of downtown Laval, and Dév Méta is the developer of Phases 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. A high-end residential complex comprising nearly 1000 units across eight buildings, the multi-tower development boasts outstanding common areas such as prestigious lobbies, sprawling gyms with state of the art equipment, a yoga studio, a dance room, virtual golf, heated saltwater pools, and a collaborating work space for the residents in each upcoming tower – all this in a lush setting featuring exterior decorative fountains, surrounding trees with walking trails, and even a dog park.

The Rubis features two towers of 15 floors, each containing 172 units for a total of 344 units, and welcomed its first tenants on October 1, 2021. Marquise VI, meanwhile, will feature 114 luxury condos spread over 15 floors.

Certainly, the Dév Méta team is not new to shaking things up in the booming real estate market in and around Montréal. The area is known for its low cost of living and great quality of life, and even post-COVID 19, consumer confidence in the region is running high – a great fit for this creative and driven team.

“If you ask me what I like best about my work, it’s when the creation and development process starts falling into place. It’s all about the collaboration,” says Michel Guilbault, Associate Vice President of Operations and a veteran project manager and visionary in the local market.

“Every time you buy property you have to challenge yourself to make sure it’s the right decision. Questions about the market, location, and product type have to be asked. Do the rewards outweigh the risk? I could see that no matter how big the projects were, it didn’t scare them,” he says of the company founders.

Guilbault describes one of the company’s first projects, ‘Le Solstice Montréal’, set to open in 2022. The 330-unit development sits in the heart of Montréal near the Bell Center, the site of the city’s historic, premier sports franchise, the Montréal Canadiens hockey team.

After one year together, the team was ready to move forward and build a project larger than they had ever built before. As a result, Solstice Montréal will feature a distinctive contemporary design. Towering over Montréal’s urban heritage of red brick, the glass building will sparkle, elegantly topped by a unique architectural crown overlooking the St. Lawrence River. With its materials chosen with care, and modern artwork filling the common areas, this project offers bright and inviting one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. Each floor has six corner units, all with balconies.

Solstice Montréal will feature communal living areas, an owners’ lounge, an optional private wine cellar with access to a tasting room, indoor swimming pool, thermal spa, exercise and yoga rooms, and electric vehicle stations.

The best part of the creative process for this project, says Guilbault, was seeing all the professional partners bring their great ideas forward. With its striking design, Solstice will become a landmark – both for Montréal and Dév Méta as well.

When Guilbault joined the newly-founded Dév Méta, he was expecting to be a part of more low-profile projects, 50 to 100 units per building. “When the opportunity to acquire land next to the iconic Bell Center arose, how could we say no? We are now almost sold out of our 44 story building with 339 units.”

Solstice, he says, is designed for Montréalers and reflects the vibrancy of the city and its culture. “It was all thought out. All the finishes in the lobby and hallways were designed with finishes that we see in historic buildings and churches, such as oak, copper, and grey slate. So it was basically a building for all of Montréal.”

Indeed, not looking sterile or commercial is something his company strives for in every residential project – it’s a part of the Dév Méta approach that begins with site selection and project analysis, and goes from the design stage through to performance monitoring of the finished build. Dév Méta wants to add to the heritage of a community, not take away from it. By bringing thoughtful design and sustainable materials to the landscape of Montréal, the company ensures that its buildings will age gracefully and add character and charm.

To be sure, when building in older cities like Montréal, there are strict rules and regulations to follow. “There are always solutions to be found when discussing parking, or environmental regulations,” explains Guilbault. “When working with parking challenges, you have to get innovative.” On one project, the company turned this challenge into a positive, eco-friendly outcome. To be able to reduce the number of second-vehicles per condo, Dév Méta purchased electric vehicles to lease in the complex. This allows the owners to reserve a vehicle only when needed.

“Our clientele is mostly empty-nesters and professionals who come to purchase or rent a condo. Most are used to having two vehicles,” Guilbault says. With the company’s solution, residents download an app to their phones and this gives them access to rent the electric cars at their convenience.

Dév Méta is also ensuring that its developments are energy-efficient, making the company an innovator in creating environmentally friendly buildings in city centers.

For instance, the company uses timers and motion sensors in and around its buildings to minimize energy used, and its units include Energy Star high-efficiency windows and appliances. The properties offer landscaped walkways, bicycle parking, and ample green spaces to encourage healthy living and cleaner transit – another step forward to a greener future.

The company’s eco-friendly and innovative approach couldn’t come at a better time. Recent statistics have shown that there is a housing shortage in Quebec, with just 400 apartment units for every 1000 residents, and Dév Méta is “here to help close this gap in an eco-friendly way,” says Guilbault.

To this end, a new large-scale project will see the light of day in the fall of 2022, on the boulevard des Anciens-Combattants in the city of Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue. In collaboration with the Agriculture department of McGill University, the firm is in the early stages of developing a unique community that will create a symbiotic relationship between the residential and the agricultural – bringing the natural environment to just outside the front door.

Offered as rentals as well as condominiums, this development, comprising 740 mixed units over four buildings, is oriented toward a clientele aged 55 and over. In order to improve the quality of life of its residents, a commercial hub offering a medical clinic, a pharmacy and various other services will be built on the site.

Innovative in many ways due to a visionary concept based on eco-responsibility, socialization, pedestrian use, and urban agriculture, this new living environment, spread out over more than five hectares of land, will allow future residents to return to their roots. “We’re bringing agriculture such as fruit trees and shrubs, fine herbs, consumable perennials, and other types of plants to the residential area, attracting bees and wildlife” says Guilbault. “We’re taking it to the next level and trying to do something different.” A new park will also be developed in the heart of the site to promote a healthy environment for the benefit of the community.

“To offer a good quality of life to residents is foremost,” Guilbault concludes. The team has to stay one step ahead, foreseeing challenges and finding solutions that can make urban housing and the environment symbiotic – and in this endeavour, Dév Méta is succeeding.

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