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Former Hippodrome to be turned into fully functional neighbourhood

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The City of Montreal has unveiled its plans to convert the Namur-Hippodrome area into a carbon-neutral district focusing on social housing, public transportation and greenery.

Located in the city's Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough, officials say they hope "the area will stand out for its urban and mobility innovation" and leave "a minimal environmental footprint."

The plan is to build up to 20,000 new dwellings, including a potential 9,000 on the site of the former Hippodrome race track (also once named Blue Bonnets).

"A significant portion of these dwelling units will be meant for social and community housing that will be affordable and family-friendly," the city states.

There are also plans to have stores and businesses, as well as 14 hectares of green public spaces, including a central park and a green belt.

Officials note the area will be accessible and public transit-friendly with the addition of a tramway that will connect the district to the Metro system.

There are also plans for "civic activity hubs that meet the needs of the community," such as schools, a community centre, a library, sports facilities and health care facilities.

The Namur-Hippodrome neighbourhood comprises about 95 hectares of land near the Namur Metro station. The land hasn't been used for 14 years and doesn't have a water distribution system. Studies will analyze what it will cost to connect the area to infrastructure and transit.

Today's announcement comes after the city failed multiple times to build housing at the Hippodrome site, in the middle of the Island of Montreal. Pierre Boivin, CEO of investment firm Claridge, who is helping to draft a new development model for the property, says this new plan will succeed where others have failed.

Public consultations for the project are slated for this spring, with final adoption expected this fall.

Barring any complications, construction could start as early as 2025.

- With files from The Canadian Press

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