ACT URBAN CONFERENCE: Public Life – Everyone’s Business

GI QUO VADIS HELPS BUILD SUSTAINABLE CITIES AT GEHL INSTITUTE’S ACT URBAN CONFERENCE

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Selected to join 90 global leaders in sustainable city building, Natalie Voland will be representing GI Quo Vadis and the responsible real estate projects they have contributed to the Montreal community at the Gehl Institute’s first Act Urban Conference, June 15-17 in Philadelphia, USA. The Gehl Institute is hosting its first ‘Act Urban’ series to explore and celebrate how cities encourage people to participate in public life. Renowned founder and author Jan Gehl has been helping to transform urban environments around the world from “unworkable cityscapes” into “cities for people” for more than forty years.

Gestion Immobilière Quo Vadis inc. is an award winning, multi-disciplinary, mission-based real estate developer and B Corporation, specializing in retrofitting historically relevant buildings into entrepreneurial ecosystems  with a purpose to adaptively reposition these buildings and provide commercial opportunities for social and innovative entrepreneurs. The goal is to foster the development of an integration of business, culture and community. “When you transform or build cities it is not just for the developer, it is for everyone around,” says Natalie Voland. “I’m building the city I want my family to live in.”

In 2013, GI Quo Vadis was invited to attend MIPIM, an International Real Estate Development Conference in Cannes, France, to represent the city of Montreal alongside innovators in sustainable development, such as Barcelona, Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Rotterdam. Natalie Voland saw similarities between Montreal and these world leaders in sustainability. It was at this conference that Natalie Voland was introduced to BREEAM, the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects, infrastructure and buildings. She later visited their test center in London, where extensive research is done on low impact design, carbon emissions reduction, design durability and resilience, adaptation to climate change, ecological value and biodiversity protection. “We need to look beyond energy efficiency and apply lifestyle modeling design.” says Natalie Voland.

In 2015 GI Quo Vadis launched Le Salon 1861, a church restored to host community, co-creation and social innovation. “Everything done with our project Le Salon 1861 embodies what needs to be done with historic building conversions,” says Natalie Voland with the determination to connect these historic buildings on an international level and to apply the best global practices to the Montreal landscape. Most recent, GI Quo Vadis is creating a new development project based on the international concept of a walkable, vertical village, located at the heart of Griffintown (Montreal, Quebec), entitled Legado. This 400,000 square foot property, great for commercial and light industrial tenants is based on what the years of public hearings in Griffintown have highlighted- the need for a city for people to live, work, learn, and play- with large access to public shared spaces that foster integration and innovation.

GI Quo Vadis’ holdings are located most notably in the South-West of Montreal and holds over 1.5 million sq.ft with over 500 tenants. GI Quo Vadis has helped to create 3,000 new jobs over the years by supporting the growth of the SMEs in their portfolio. Ranging from NPOs, artists, SMEs and consultants to larger scale tenants, they provide an integrated approach offering on site services for entrepreneurs like gyms, daycares, restaurants, communal roof top terraces, and event spaces. Their newest projects are to include urban agriculture to help integrate food systems in food deserts and promote local hiring policies. Current GI Quo Vadis developments include, Complexe Dompark, Complexe du Canal Lachine, Complexe Griffintown and Le Salon 1861.