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Rosefellow sets zero-carbon goal at $300M industrial campus

IMAGE: The developmental land for Rosefellow's Kirkland industrial campus
The land for Rosefellow's industrial campus in Kirkland, Que. (Courtesy Rosefellow)

UPDATED WITH QUOTES: Real estate developer Rosefellow has announced its Kirkland, Que. industrial campus, where construction is to start this spring, will be targeting a zero-carbon certification.

The campus will be comprised of three buildings and will cost $300 million. The first building is to be completed by the end of 2023 and the remainder of the project by the spring of 2024.

The Kirkland campus will be the first in the area to seek a zero-carbon certification. The company has more than 20 million square feet under development in various industrial and multi-residential projects in Quebec and Ontario.  

Mike Jager, Rosefellow’s co-founder, told SustainableBiz the company will pursue zero-carbon certifications for all its projects moving forward. Kirkland is planned to be the first of 14 zero-carbon developments in Quebec and Ontario for Rosefellow.

“The month of November, we had an internal discussion to see what we want to do better for ourselves, want to do better for the community. It came down to our to our ESG standards, and what we felt we needed to do as a company,” Jager said. “We need to do what we can to make a dent in the universe and leave a better tomorrow for our children is what it came down to. I’m not trying to sound corny, but it's true.”

The last greenfield site on West Island, Montreal

Rosefellow initially announced the project in September, when it spent $70 million to purchase the land. The site is the last undeveloped greenfield site on the West Island of Montreal, according to Rosefellow.

All three buildings will utilize energy-efficient features. These include high-performance insulation, LED lighting, an electric heating system and smart energy management systems.

“What's great as well is that we don't sell our buildings to users, we build to rent,” Jager explained. “So the operating costs for a tenant are significantly lower than a standard industrial building built years ago.”

The campus will be built on a 1.3 million square foot property in the western half of the Island of Montreal, at Hwy. 40 and Boulevard Saint-Charles in Kirkland’s industrial zone.

The company decided not to use solar panels as they were deemed ineffective in Quebec’s environment.

“Solar panels in Quebec are not very efficient due to weather. (We have) very clean energy here in Quebec. Across the United States, it's more popular and it has more effect. But we have been looking at it and we judge on certain projects that . . . it's not worth its value,” Julian Nini, Rosefellow’s director of construction, said.

 “That's one thing that we look at project to project, if solar panels are really (worth it) and most of the time we judge that it's not.”

The second Zero-Carbon Standard, for performance, will be decided once the building is in operation. 

“We have stringent property managers as well,” Jager said. “We'll make sure that we enforce the proper maintenance of the building throughout the lifespan.”

A shovel-ready, highly visible, 'trophy property'

When acquired, the property was the largest per-square-foot transaction made by the company.

“We’ve probably now set the bar on land values,” Tsoumas told RENX at the time, but “we are very comfortable with the price that we paid. We definitely believe this site is worth it.”

The site will comprise:

  • Building A with an area of 169,000 square feet;
  • Building B with an area of 258,000 square feet; and
  • Building C with an area of 161,000 square feet.

They are expected to accommodate companies from a range of industries.

Jager also noted Rosefellow’s efficiency. “For us, our baseline to get to a carbon zero is about $6 a foot,” he said.

Tsoumas told RENX the property is “very prominent, with great visibility, great frontage. For us alone, this is a trophy property.” Given the popularity of industrial real estate on the West Island, “finding a greenfield site that is effectively shovel-ready is almost unheard of.”

The property will also be close to REM Montreal, a major public transit hub. The developers will install a wall close to residential infrastructure near the new campus.

Leasing details will follow.

“We did not rent out any space prior to construction. That remains the case this time around. Our projects are attractive and in high demand. Companies contact us with increasing enthusiasm due to our unique approach centred on sustainability and technology,” Jager said in a statement.

The Kirkland property was funded in part by Rosefellow’s second $100-million fund, RF Fund II. The industrial development-specific fund is focusing on the Greater Montreal Area, Quebec City and Ontario.

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