“It’s a homegrown company, started in 1979, and Montreal is still a hub. The city works for us because it is North American and yet has that European flavour. We’re happy here.”
The new Point Zero building will feature 100,000 square feet of warehouse space with 32-foot clearance, nearly tripling the company’s capacity, 60,000 square feet of ergonomic office space, design studios and showrooms.
There will also be a helicopter pad on the roof to allow out-of-town clients to zip in and out for meetings. Most intriguing of all, the complex will also include a 4,000-square-foot retail “laboratory.” Consumers will be able to shop on site, but the real purpose is to showcase the clothing and offer retailers ideas on how to display the Point Zero line.
“We are not trying to compete with out retail partners. We’re strictly trying to assist in finding ways to showcase our products,” Ellner said.
The project, with a budget of about $20 million, was designed by architect Karl Fischer, a native Montrealer who is based in New York City. The interior design is by Andres Escobar et associes. The clean lines, curved central atrium and ornate cornice topping the building stand in stark contrast to the architecture typical of the area. This is no concrete box or panelled warehouse.
“We want the building to make a statement about who we are,” Ellner said.
Point Zero’s investment in the Chabanel area has not gone unnoticed. These days, companies pulling up stakes or threatening to do the same have been earning all the headlines. Jeanswear manufacturer Parasuco’s dithering over whether to establish its international headquarters in the U.S. or Europe, where the tax rate would favour the company, has dragged on for months. Mexx Canada has left nearby Meilleur St. for the greener tax pastures of St. Laurent.
The city is hoping that Point Zero’s new building will be part of a turning point for the Chabanel area. The city is helping by extending Jean-Pratt St, which runs right by the Point Zero building to connect with Highway 15. The addition of a commuter train station on Chabanel will help, as will promised investments in benches, lighting and other beautifiers.
“We don’t have any suppliers in the area, so we don’t need to be here from a business point of view,” Ellner said. “On the other hand, this is the fashion district and its where most of the business happens. That’s why we’ve decided to stay.”