The building is housed in a building in Griffintown, which now houses a spacious apartment hotel that costs between $ 150 and $ 2,000 per night.
Yesterday, our Investigation Bureau reported that in the midst of the housing crisis, Quebec was lending $ 30 million to multinational Sonder, which specializes in short-term rentals such as Airbnb.
The company, headquartered in the United States, operates a rental of 389 apartments in Montreal.
However, we found that 47 of these apartments were in a building in Richmond, which should have more traditional homes.
In 2011, developer group Diane Griffin requested a zone change to convert the former industrial buildings in the town into a 300-unit residential project.
Photo by Charles Matthew
3 1/2 example of this building The Le Journal recently asked for more than $ 200 per night when rented.
The complex contributes to the “creation of a new living environment” that we can read in the documents submitted to the elected authorities of the Sud-Owest borough in Montreal.
When applying for a building permit for the first phase of his project, the promoter asked to build an 84-unit hotel-apartment instead.
Of that number, 47 apartments are currently operated by Saunders and another seven are owned by Dayan Group for rent at Airbnb.
“It was a business decision,” said Georges Dayan, the company’s president, who declined to comment further.
Sonder was able to take advantage of the zoning change to settle in Richmond, where Sud-Owest Borough significantly limited the possibility of making Airbnb-type rentals there.
“Years later, because of the housing crisis, it’s frustrating. There, we make sure there are no cases like this right now. We really control it,” said Benoit Doris, who was in charge of housing under the Southwest Mayor and Plante administration.
From 2019, short-term rentals will be banned in Sud-Ouest, except in a small area on Notre-Dame Street.
“Hotel-apartment use in the residential area is still authorized in 2018. [Sonder] Now the ‘rights have been acquired’, ”said Anik Paradis, the borough’s communications officer.
Sonder also defended himself, saying, “At the time the permit was issued, there was no authority for tourist accommodation in the area.”
Of the 300 condos project, Dayan Group is committed to building 15% social housing and 15% affordable housing. Forty-seven of these units are set to begin this fall.
Hotels without reception
Sonder Company may operate “hotels” without employees at the reception, although current municipal regulations no longer allow it.
Saunders currently operates two “tourist lodges” and four “hotels”, including Richmond, with its approval from Tourism Quebec.
After visiting, we found that three of Saunder’s four hotels did not have an on-site front desk employee.
These are the CHUM in Old Montreal, Victoria and the Gare Saint-Denis projects opposite the Lofts Gurin in the Le Plateau-Mont-Royal.
In the latter place, by the time Sonder begins his establishment, the borough has already tried to deal with unmanned hotels.
However, there are no specific terms that prevent Sonder from providing a remotely reception-only service.
“It’s hard to demand anything at this level, because the reception is really set up in the establishment and the concept of service is not really defined,” explained Michel Tangwe, communications manager for the Plateau-Mont-Royal.
The borough had to regulate to deal with projects like Sonder.
The situation is similar for Ville-Marie and Sud-Ouest boroughs, where an employee must now be on duty 24 hours a day in hotels.
Sonder also opposed the provision.
“There must be a reception with the person who is physically there. Otherwise, it does not comply, “said Benoit Doris, chief of The Christian Science Monitor’s Washington bureau.
However, Sonder could operate its three hotels under the old rules, and because of the acquired rights, the company defended itself.
“For this reason, we can not talk about non-compliance with our regulations or the need to be an employee 24 hours a day,” said Michelle Tangwe.