Innovative partnership to provide non-profit student housing on the Plateau-Mont-Royal

August 15, 2023 •  By Cristina Roque
Annonce logement

Montreal, August 15, 2023 – UTILE (Unité de travail pour l’implantation de logement étudiant) and Centraide of Greater Montreal are pleased to announce an innovative partnership that will lead to the construction of a new non-profit student housing project. Centraide has agreed to sell a parcel of land used for parking to UTILE in a deal that will have multiple social and economic impacts.

The terms of the transaction will help maximize the site’s social potential by providing for an upward adjustment of the selling price based on the number of housing units created. Centraide of Greater Montreal will use the proceeds from the sale to reinvest in the community and improve access to housing. This partnership thus kills two birds with one stone by creating a maximum number of affordable student housing units in one of the city’s most in-demand neighbourhoods.

The project will be located at 3420 Durocher St., near several universities and major public transit lines. All essential services are within a few minutes walk. In addition to transforming a heat island, the development will densify a well-located but previously underutilized site. A rooftop deck, indoor community and study spaces, and bicycle parking are planned. The building will also house a public laundromat, enhancing local services in the neighbourhood.

At a time when the need for student housing is critical, this project will create long-term affordable units in a high-demand neighbourhood. Further details, including the number of units, will be announced in the coming months. Delivery of the project is scheduled for 2027.


“For this project, UTILE is leveraging its development expertise to execute on the commitment of partners who want to make a tangible contribution to tackling the housing crisis and building more equitable and resilient communities. Today, we are pleased to announce a partnership that will allow us to build sustainably affordable housing for the student community, close to several universities, and a stone’s throw from downtown, home to the highest concentration of young people in the Greater Montreal area. We are also delighted that, thanks to Centraide, the social impact of the funds injected into the purchase will be doubled, as the money will be used for projects that expand access to housing in the city.”

— Laurent Levesque, co-founder and CEO of UTILE

“As we know, the social issue of the day is the housing crisis, which also affects students. Centraide is helping to address the problem by announcing its intention to sell its parking lot to UTILE. If it goes ahead, this transaction will make it possible to build student housing that will remain affordable in the long term. A few years ago, Centraide spearheaded the Initiative immobilière du Grand Montréal; today, we are again using impact investing, this time to support the creation of a quality living environment close to Montreal’s major universities. The proceeds from the sale, which will depend on the number of units in the final project, will be reinvested in projects to build an inclusive, poverty-free Greater Montreal. We need a mix of solutions to alleviate the effects of the housing crisis in the short, medium and long term, and above all to reduce the number of people in vulnerable situations.”

— Claude Pinard, President and Executive Director of Centraide of Greater Montreal 

“Three years after the opening of UTILE’s first project on Papineau, the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough is enthusiastically supporting this new project, the result of an innovative partnership between UTILE and Centraide, in order to maximize the social benefits. This unique alliance will transform a parking lot in the heart of downtown Montreal into non-profit housing that will benefit generations of students while enhancing its social impact by reinvesting the proceeds of the sale in Centraide’s programs. We are working with UTILE to maximize the number of units and also to include elements in the project that will benefit the community, such as a laundromat, killing several birds with one stone.”

— Luc Rabouin, Mayor of the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough 


  • This project was also made possible by the first injection of revolving funds by the PUSH fund, capitalized by several student associations to support the construction of non-profit student housing.
  • A portion of the proceeds from the sale by Centraide of Greater Montreal will go to projects related to housing insecurity.
  • The site is located in the area with the highest proportion of low-income people in Quebec.
  • Downtown Montreal is the area with the highest concentration of young people in the region, with nearly one in two residents between the ages of 18 and 35.
  • Every year, more than 145,000 students live in regular rental accommodation in the city.
  • More than 50% of Montreal’s student renters (approximately 73,000 people) fall below the low-income cut-off, even when loans, bursaries and parental support are included in their disposable income.
  • The project will be open to students from all Montreal universities.