REM offers accessibility and time savings for residents, workers and visitorsFrom the outset, this new affordable and reliable means of transportation should appeal to people visiting or working in the Montréal metropolitan area. "This is an ambitious infrastructure project that will connect downtown Montreal to communities and neighborhoods that have not been well-served by public transit, such as the West Island,” says Luc Sicotte, senior vice president, real estate management services, with Colliers Canada. The REM will also improve access and connection between companies seeking workers, and Montreal’s broader talent pool, thanks to the availability of efficient commutes up and down the line.
Scheduled for completion by 2027, the REM is already sparking new mixed-use development and investment at locations along the system.
Data as of March 2023
Jessi Carrier, senior vice president, hotels at Colliers, sees the REM as good news for hotel owners and operators, in particular. "The REM has the potential to provide a pleasant, efficient connection between downtown Montreal and Trudeau International Airport,” Carrier says . That connection will stimulate business and leisure tourism, he predicts.
How should hotels at or near the airport feel about the REM?
Hotel operators near the airport shouldn’t worry about losing business because of the REM, Carrier says. In Toronto and Vancouver, airport transit links connecting those cities’ urban cores haven’t disrupted the airport lodging business.
"In Toronto and Vancouver, the appeal of these establishments has not diminished,” Carrier says. “There will always be two types of customers: those who come to Montréal for a short period of time or who have things to do in the airport area or in the West Island and prefer to sleep near the airport —and those who wish to spend most of their time and their nights downtown.”
Avoiding traffic jams and parking headaches downtown is another major benefit of the REM. "With the train's speed, extended hours and frequency, people will be able to better enjoy the cultural and culinary attractions of downtown without having to drive into the city. If the train runs every eight minutes instead of every hour, it's a game-changer.
Opportunities to enhance service offeringsBuilding owners increasingly share the responsibility to help promote a healthy work-life balance for their tenants’ employees by facilitating wellness programs and incorporating attractive, convenient amenities, Sicotte says. The arrival of the REM will create opportunities to implement "convenience activators" in office locations such as concierge services, on-site dry cleaning and parcel drop boxes — all of which will enhance the employee experience and motivate employees to work more often at the office and spend time in the downtown area.
"Setting up shop at or near a station is a wise investment for hotel developers,” Carrier says. The REM has the potential to stimulate the development of downtown submarkets by increasing activity around its stations. If a hotel offers a restaurant or even a nice café in its lobby, residents, commuters and workers would likely use this space to gather and relax. It all contributes to having more appealing, lively places for visitors and residents alike to spend time – and money.
The REM contributes to sustainable transportation
The REM also makes transiting around Montreal cleaner and more sustainable. "The REM is a fully electric train that produces no greenhouse gas emissions. The system will help remove thousands of cars from downtown streets," Sicotte says, adding that the REM is expected to function for at least the next 75 years. (Montreal’s subway system was initially built in the 1960s).
The REM should be perceived as an opportunity for development and growth, especially among hospitality operators and other businesses near the line and its transit hubs, Sicotte and Carrier agree.
To take a deeper dive into the REM and the opportunities it presents, check out Colliers’ interactive map providing details on the REM stations and surrounding neighbourhoods, including demographics and ongoing development projects.
Colliers' clients include real estate owners and developers, real estate investment firms and corporate tenants. Learn more from Colliers experts and find out everything you need to know about the REM project.