Cohabitat Québec is a unique project located in the Saint-Sacrement district of downtown Québec City. The 42–unit project was built according to “cohousing,” principals. In a cohousing project, residents share common spaces, which, in turn helps to reduce the costs associated with owning and operating a home. A community house is available to all residents, and is equipped with amenities such as a large kitchen and dining room, a playroom, guest rooms, laundry room, lawn and gardening equipment and a workshop for do-it-yourselfers.

“This project is affordable, as the units are priced below the average market price. This allows us to offer the residents homes at an affordable cost for downtown Québec,” said Guillaume Pinson, member-owner.

CMHC provided Seed and Proposal Development Funding to help cover some of the costs incurred in the early stages of the development. ”We needed to convince financial partners to get involved with us. Thanks to the kick-start that we got from CMHC, we were able to develop the financial and architectural frameworks of the project, come up with a business plan and approach key partners with credibility,” said Pinson.

Cohabitat Quebec brings together people of all ages: retirees, young families with children, single-parent families and professionals with no children. “The intergenerational aspect of the project also allows everyone to engage with one another, to mutually enrich one another’s lives,” added resident Jean-Yves Fréchette.

Since the official opening in June 2013, Cohabitat has obtained both Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)® Platinum and Novoclimat certifications. Close to 75 per cent of the site was preserved as green space, and the large mature trees were incorporated into the development plan.

VideoTranscript

Cohabitat Québec — Québec, Québec — Transcript of Video

Guillaume Pinson
Cohabitat
00:00 - 02:12

Cohabitat Québec’s basic concept envisions a neighbourhood as a small community. At the heart there is a community house that brings residents together.

Cohabitat Québec has 42 units, from small one-bedroom units to large three-storey townhouses, situated downtown, and that includes a large community house. We have playrooms for the children and guest rooms that all the residents can use for visitors, thus allowing them to have smaller private units. We have a workshop fully equipped with tools. We have a large bicycle room to store all the bikes.

The community house has everything. This allows the individual homes to be priced well-below market. Equipment like the lawn mower and blower are shared, which means that the daily costs are also low.

When we bought the land, there was already a building that was not in very good condition, but we wanted to recycle it completely. We kept the concrete structure and renovated it entirely, making 18 condominium units.

This is an affordable project. The units are 20 per cent below the average market price. They can be offered to residents and future buyers at a good price for downtown Québec.

In the early stages of the Cohabitat project, thanks to the support of CMHC, we were able to benefit from Seed and Proposal Development Funding, which allowed us to develop the financial and architectural concepts, and a business plan. That gave us credibility. It is certain that, without CMHC’s help, this would not have been possible.

The project is led by citizens without the involvement of a developer. For a project like Cohabitat Québec to come become a reality, we need to convince key partners to work with us.

Thanks to the kick-start from CMHC, we were able to convince the Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins and Filaction to finance the construction.

Jon Paquin and Véronique Doré Bluteau
Residents
2 :13-2 :32

We were both taken with the project – the community and the intergenerational aspects. There are a thousand reasons right there, but I think that, just living here, we can see how much we can share and help each other.

Jean-Yves Fréchette
Resident
2:33 – 02:56

The multigenerational aspect allows everyone to engage, to enrich one another’s lives. Most people my age sell their homes and move into retirement condominiums. But we wanted to stay in the flow of “real” life and remain in the “thick of things”, as they say.

Guillaume Pinson
02:57 – 03:20

One element that we’re proud of is our environmental approach. We are going to obtain, at minimum, LEED Gold certification, so that we can feature the attention given to the materials and the site, and deliver units that are healthy for their occupants.

I think that people are proud of this, the first Cohabitat project in the Province of Quebec. Thanks to its success, we can anticipate more projects like this in the future.

Date Published: March 31, 2018