The MRC Montreal Project Will Reflect A space for us all

September 17, 2014, Montreal

The RFP for the Montreal MRC project has been reviewed and certain parts were modified to reflect directions set out in the A space for us all strategy. The timeline has also been extended to permit the consortia to review their concept based on emerging needs put forward by the Corporation. Proposals are now due in spring 2015.

In the adjusted version of the RFP, the new MRC will occupy less space than originally planned but will remain a major production centre. Among other things, it includes an additional reduction in production space for entertainment TV programming.

“Our entertainment programming infrastructure was set up at a time when only the major broadcasters had the resources to cover the cost of producing those types of content,” explains Louis Lalande, Executive Vice-President, French Services. “Today, because we can acquire that type of programming from a number of independent producers, we’re able to lighten our infrastructure and reduce our fixed costs. Plus, it’s important to remember that this close-knit relationship with independent production companies is common practice at Radio-Canada. We plan to focus our entertainment production on areas where Radio-Canada’s expertise can add substantial value to the content.”

Of the four TV production studios envisioned in the initial RFP, CBC/Radio-Canada will keep a single large multiplatform studio, coupled with versatile spaces that will permit shooting in a number of locations around the new MRC. The new Maison de Radio-Canada’s functional and technical needs have therefore been adjusted, also taking into account the staff reductions announced this past April and June.

“As laid out in the A space for us all plan, our infrastructure will be reduced, but the new MRC will be abuzz with TV/radio/web/mobile creative energy, closer to the public, and more in tune with emerging industry trends. Our lineups will be leading-edge, multiplatform, and in touch with audiences. We will remain a nerve centre for culture and creativity,” adds Lalande.

Spaces Designed to Meet CBC/Radio-Canada’s Real Needs

The Montreal Maison de Radio-Canada development project is part of an initiative begun several years ago that aims to equip the Corporation with modern facilities that address its real needs, and transfer real-estate risk to a private developer. That objective has not changed. It’s also important to keep in mind that the current Maison de Radio-Canada is in need of major renovations. This would involve substantial expenditures for the Corporation, and CBC/Radio-Canada is not mandated to play a real estate investment role.

The MRC Project Also Includes Development of the Entire Site

Construction of Montreal’s Maison de Radio-Canada is only one part of much larger initiative to redevelop the entire site. In concrete terms, that means that, in addition to coming up with a concept for the new MRC, the consortia also must find a new function for the current tower, incorporate the construction of affordable social and community housing, and propose an appropriate mix of space usage for the site (shops, office space, and private residences). Moreover, they are required to design green spaces and a way to reconnect the site with the surrounding area.

New Timeline and RFP Process

Given the current context, the changes to the RFP process announced in May 2014 and the extended timeline will permit CBC/Radio-Canada to create conditions conducive to carrying the project through to completion.

Next Steps

Spring 2015 The consortia submit their proposals.
Summer 2015 CBC/Radio-Canada evaluates proposals and selects a concept.
Fall 2015 / Winter 2017 The successful consortium works with CBC/Radio-Canada and the City of Montreal to complete the plan for the entire site, including MRC.
Spring 2017 The Board of Directors and ultimately the Treasury Board grant final approval for the project.
Summer 2017 – 2019 The new MRC is built.

About CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages.

A space for us all is CBC/Radio-Canada’s new strategy to modernize the public broadcaster and ensure that it continues to fulfill its mandate for Canadians and for future generations. Through to 2020, it will increase its investment in prime time television programming, and continue to create radio programs of the highest quality, while promoting the development of digital and mobile platforms and content.

For more information about the MRC project, please visit this page.

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