January 31, 2013 - Hockey players and wealthy socialites call the Heritage du Vieux Port home. But the condo complex in Old Montreal, a virtually impregnable bunker, is also home to a handful of bikers, Mafia associates and other alleged organized crime figures, Montreal police say.
Nestled between the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal and the banks of the St. Lawrence, the 200 condos in the imposing red-brick building offer spectacular views and one of the most prestigious addresses in the city.
Hockey players and wealthy socialites call the Heritage du Vieux Port home.
Longer than a football field and crowned by four five-storey rooftop villas, it offers what the glossy sales brochure describes as “your private chateau in the city.”
But police also describe it as a virtually impregnable “bunker” for a handful of bikers, Mafia associates and other alleged organized crime figures who over the years found comfort and isolation behind the walls of the massive structure that once served as a refrigerated warehouse near the port.
Listings featuring condos for sale at the posh Héritage du Vieux Port usually go on about the waterfront location, the 24 hour security and the 15 metre salt water pool.
But following media reports today, brokers selling property at the 207-unit complex near the Old Port will also have to give potential buyers some far less marketable details about their prospective neighbors.
Under Quebec real estate law, information relevant to the sale of a property – things like a murder, or a drug bust in a home, or having mobsters for neighbors - must be disclosed by brokers to potential buyers.
“When a broker knows a factor that could be unfavorable to a transaction he must reveal it,” said Robert Nadeau, president of Quebec’s real estate watchdog, theOrganisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec, or OACIQ. “From this moment on, a broker cannot say he doesn’t know (about 1000 de la Commune).”
Brokers would have to disclose this information even if the particular unit they are selling was never owned by someone with connections to organized crime, Nadeau told me.
In real estate, having a so-called bad neighbour directly hits property values.
According to the U.S. Appraisal Institute, having a neighbour with “annoying pets, unkempt yards, unpleasant odors, loud music” can reduce the value of a property by five to 10 per cent.
Whether a broker should have known this information and disclosed it to clients in the past is a different story, Nadeau said.