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TERREBONNE, MONTREAL-The SNR Group has broken ground on the $500 million Domaine du Park project, which will include thousands of residential homes and condos, more than one million square feet of retail, a 250-acre park and a new bus and train station. The 400-acre project is just the second phase of the 1,000-acre North Station project, which includes the recently built lifestyle center that includes Walmart, Best Buy and Home Sense, as well as a new hospital.

Smart Centres bought the two-million-square-foot land parcel for the retail project for $16 million a few years ago and has begun building the lifestyle center, with more stores now under construction, says SNR principal Monty Steckler. He tells GlobeSt.com that his firm has sold most of the 1,000 units of single-family, duplex and townhome houses, and is beginning sales of land to builders for waterfront condos and senior housing on the second phase.

He says it has take seven years to get this new phase, going up along the Milles Isles River at the entrance to Montreal, approved through various governmental agencies. “This was a condemned property, they were arguing that it is a flood plain. We proved that the government studies were faulty and were able to salvage a good portion of the site for development. We donated the remainder to the Ministry of Environment, which is working with the Ducks Unlimited organization to create the nature park.”

The second phase will take two-three years to build, Steckler says. The year 2013 is also about how long it will take to gain approvals for the third phase of the project, which is to include offices, industrial and other retail uses, though exact square footage has not yet been worked out. “The next phase was also condemned as wetlands,” he says. “We’re working to show that the government builds drainage under the highway, we can salvage a good portion of that phase as well.”

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