1. Radio-Canada will occupy approximately 50% of the current floor space. What is your justification for such a radical decrease in space?
- We will occupy the space corresponding to our needs. As a result:
- The new MRC will comprise four multifunctional stages, one of which will be as vast as the current Studio 42, but more versatile;
- Spaces given over to archiving will be reduced, because of the shift to digital archiving.
- Current under-used workspaces will be eliminated in the new MRC. For example, occupancy of radio studios is estimated to be half that of capacity; this reality will be addressed in the definition of the new facility’s space needs.
- In the same vein, space currently lost due to architectural constraints will be regained. The new MRC will be more functional.
- Lastly, the project aims to implement a collaborative, open-plan workspace better suited to a creative-sector corporation. This will enable reconfiguration and reductions in the administrative spaces, and improve collaboration among work teams. Starting in 2017, pilot projects will be conducted to test the new workspace concept.
- The new MRC in Montreal will remain the country’s largest French-language production and broadcast centre for TV, radio and digital content. We are convinced that CBC/Radio-Canada can equip itself with modern, efficient workspaces on a much smaller footprint.
- In four years’ time, the new MRC will be home to a transformed and repositioned CBC/Radio-Canada.
2. Will CBC/Radio-Canada be selling its assets in Montreal?
- Yes. Pursuant to its real estate strategy, the Corporation plans to dispose of its land and facilities. CBC/Radio-Canada will have a long-term lease on the Montreal MRC.
- Property management is not a core activity of the Corporation. Deployment of solutions whereby the financial risk of building ownership (including maintenance requirements) is offloaded to third parties has also been the chosen strategy for other CBC/Radio-Canada projects.
3. Why opt for leasing? Wouldn’t it cost less to own the facility?
Leasing is financially more attractive than ownership: the risks are transferred to the real estate promoter, and we focus on our core activities, as well as gain extra versatility that will be advantageous as our needs evolve.
4. Will the existing MRC be torn down?
No. Whatever proposal is selected, the tower will remain and it will continue to display the Corporation’s logo. That requirement is included in the zoning bylaw passed in 2009 by Montreal City Council.
5. Do we know what it would cost to fully renovate the existing facility? And what are the costs of the other scenarios?
These are confidential information that we would rather not disclose for the moment, so as not to steer the proposals that the consortia will be submitting to us in any particular direction.
6. Why not opt for a scenario involving renovations to the tower?
Based on estimates we’ve obtained, it’s neither the most cost-effective nor the most functional alternative.
7. Is it possible that no project will be carried out?
The Montreal MRC Development Project must go forward. The current facilities don’t meet our needs anymore and require investments that the Corporation can’t afford. Moreover, it is difficult to imagine indefinitely maintaining huge outdoor parking lots downtown in a metropolis like Montreal. The City, the community and CBC/Radio-Canada all want to develop the site.
In our opinion, this is an opportunity to be seized now. When the CHUM (University of Montreal’s health centre) is built, there will be an increased housing demand. The new residential spaces could help meet that need and help develop the site.
That said, any project selected must be approved by both CBC/Radio-Canada’s Board of Directors and the Treasury Board before taking shape.
8. How much is the Corporation planning to invest in its new facility? What is the forecast budget allocation?
CBC/Radio-Canada will base its choice on the proposal that offers the lowest cost of occupancy according to the needs stipulated in the FTP and the Corporation’s financial capacity. We cannot make any advance announcement about how much the project will cost, as the RFP process must first be completed.
The financial plans regarding leasing of the facility will eventually be made public, once a finalized proposal has been selected and it has received approval from the appropriate bodies (the CBC/Radio-Canada Board of Directors and the Treasury Board).
9. What are the names of the three consortia selected to submit proposals?
The three consortia chosen in August 2012 to put together proposals are:
- Consortium Média Cité (headed by Busac Inc.);
- Partenaires du développement de la Maison (headed by Broccolini); and
In August 2013, SNC-Lavalin opted to withdraw from the tender process for enterprise-specific considerations. SNC-Lavalin’s withdrawal has no effect on the continuation of the project. The project is moving forward as planned, and the other consortia remain involved – they have until winter 2014 (nine months) to submit their bid to us.
10. Why was the public-private partnership (3P) model chosen for the project?
First, a clarification: This is not a 3P project. CBC/Radio-Canada will not re-assume ownership of the facility once the long-term lease expires. This formula was chosen because no maintenance investments will be required during and after the term of the lease.
The procurement process for the project is in keeping with a major trend observed in the broadcasting industry as well as other sectors of the economy, and means:
- Offloading of risk to a competent partner;
- Certainty with regard to costs;
- Versatility of workspaces ensuring possible modifications for future use.
11. Why issue an RFP only to the three consortia rather than leave it open to the public?
The fall 2011 RFI and the RFQ issued in April 2012 were public. All interested firms were free to respond. The RFQ and documentation provided with it clearly stated that a maximum of three consortia would be selected to develop projects after all responses had been analyzed. The RFP was therefore issued only to the three consortia chosen after the RFQ.
12. Did the Corporation put forward rules of ethics for this project? If so, what are those rules?
- Respect for rules of ethics is built into the RFP requirements. Each of the consortia will have to adopt a code of ethics and adhere to it at all times.
- Declarations and attestations with respect to integrity and respect for the rules of ethics will be required of the proponents and/or members of the consortia
- To ensure the integrity of the process, CBC/Radio-Canada also reserves the right, at any time, to:
- impose additional ethical requirements and require proof of members’ compliance; and
- reject a proposal or demand that a member be replaced if competent authorities determine that the proponent or a member has engaged in improper practices or otherwise behaved unethically.
- An external auditor ascertained that the qualification process was fair, open and transparent. The report signed by him and made public at the end of the process testifies that these principles were fully complied with. The document is available (in French) at www.cbc.radio-canada.ca/en/explore/facilities/qc/montreal-mrc-s-development/.
- The process auditor will be involved at all stages of the RFP process and will produce another public report.
13. Why choose a collaborative, open-plan layout concept?
Open-plan collaborative workspace layouts are now standard in many creative-sector corporations similar to ours, such as the BBC. The Corporation wishes to implement this type of configuration wherever possible. It is the norm for its most recent real estate projects as well as those to come.
Open spaces will make for improved collaboration and dialogue among work teams. It will be easier for us to communicate with each other, which in turn will enhance our efficiency as an organization.
14. What are the benefits for the Corporation?
- The project will allow CBC/Radio-Canada to offload to risks of the real estate development to private partners, monetize the assets, and build an MRC that will meet current and future needs, while ensuring protection of programming budgets.
- The project will provide the Corporation with a dynamic space for working, populated by people, not parking lots.
- The savings realized after completion of the development project will be reinvested in programming. The financial model, however, requires first of all that we pay rent, and that we continue to pay taxes and other annual recurring expenditures, before any cost savings can be identified.
15. What are the benefits of the project for the neighbourhood surrounding the MRC?
- The MRC is currently isolated, cut off from the neighbourhood. The project will:
- establish more functional links with the neighbourhood and enable better urban integration, consistent with the surrounding community;
- provide diversified residential real estate supply, including social, community and affordable housing;
- increase the number of businesses and offices available to employees and residents;
- redevelop the site according to the principles of sustainable development (LEED-Silver certification for the new MRC and LEED-ND for the overall site, green spaces, reduction of heat island effect, green water and energy use management, free bike share stations, and ride sharing).
- The Montreal MRC development will attract a mix of users to the site, in addition to creating a new living environment.
16. In other words, social and affordable housing is guaranteed to be part of future construction?
- Yes. The development agreement entered into in 2009 by CBC/Radio-Canada and the City of Montreal stipulates that:
- 20% of residential units built on the site must be social housing; and
- 10% of residential units must be affordable.
- A part of the social and affordable housing will be reserved for the elderly and for families.