It’s apparently the new hot spot for the “hipsters” who can no longer afford the Plateau, or Mile-End.
Creative industries – think media, gaming and design companies – love how it’s just a short walk from the Parc métro, not to mention Little Italy’s pizza and espresso bars.
“Mile-Ex” is an eclectic Montreal neighbourhood that mixes old industrial buildings, plexes and artists’ workshops with new condos and trendy cafés in a former manufacturing hub east of Parc Ave. and south of De Castelnau St.
But while the area is attracting investors and new office workers alike, Royal LePage real estate broker Carly Fridman prefers to take her buyers shopping further north in Villeray.
“Mile-Ex will be a good place to invest in a rental property, but in terms of buying to live, or buying to flip, I don’t think we’re there yet,” she said. “If you have two children and you want services you don’t want to move there. There’s no green space and there’s a lot of pollution.”
Jarry Park might only be a few blocks north of Mile-Ex, but you wouldn’t know it from the vast grey expanse of roads that were obviously designed for the convenience of trucks – and not pedestrians. When I mentioned the lack of foliage to a friend who lives in the area, he remarked sardonically: “We can always fix that by painting the industrial buildings green.”
In theory, the city of Montreal has a plan to add greenery to the area, widen sidewalks and create a bike-path that would run along Marconi St. Talks are also in the works to create an actual Parc station – which would combine sitting place for commuters and retailing.
A rendering of the proposed Parc train station, which would provide retailing and sitting space for commuters.
These plans, to be discussed during a public consultation this year, need to be acted on before the cranes and construction trucks converge on Mile-Ex. As my colleague René Bruemmer reported this month, Griffintown – another former industrial area – was also supposed to have parks and daycares to attract families. Yet disappointed residents say these expected amenities and greenery have been forgotten in the condo boom.
The city of Montreal now has the chance to do things differently in Mile-Ex. Otherwise, residents, get ready to reach for your paintbrushes.