CAMPUS1 MTL – Montreal is justifiably proud of its four university campuses close to downtown, they attract some 35,000 international students a year, not to mention many more from elsewhere in Quebec and from other provinces. A new housing option for this crowd is now available; it should please both the students and their parents.
“We spent about $120 million purchasing and converting the former Holiday Inn on Sherbrooke Street West,” says David Lehberg, CEO and founder of Knightstone Capital Management. “This created 886 curated rooms; we expect to house 886 students by our second year of operation.”
The new facility, CAMPUS1 MTL, includes such amenities as unlimited high-speed Internet, 24/7 security, an arcade and games lounge, a movie theatre, laundry facilities, 24 hour study cubicles, conference rooms, a basketball court, and an ‘all-you-care-to-eat’ dining program.
The location is so close to McGill that two lecture theatres for the university were built on the second floor of CAMPUS1 MTL. It is also within easy walking distance of Concordia or UQAM and a close commute to the l’Université de Montréal.
Lehberg, originally from Montreal’s West Island, graduated from McGill in 1984 and now lives in Toronto. He explains the genesis of how he “stumbled” into the student housing market:
“I delivered my daughter to McConnell residences for her first year at McGill in 2009, but couldn’t believe the sorry state of the buildings, which were unchanged since the 1980s. Universities had no access to capital to build or upgrade residences; Canada was falling behind in its ability to attract foreign students because of this state of disrepair. I thought that picking up this gap is good business and would further Canadian education.”
Knightstone Capital now has four student residences open across Canada and more in the pipeline. Lehberg says he works closely with universities and delivers what he promises. He also speaks highly of his staff.
“We adhere to the university’s ethics code, no smoking of anything is allowed in the building; you have to go outside for that. Parents want security for their kids so all students have security passes, but can also sign in friends.”
At the Parkside facility in Toronto, municipal authorities told Lehberg that he was not obligated to upgrade the fire safety standards for that former hotel built in 1974.
“But I am a father and this was a 23-storey tower to be filled with 18 and 19 year-olds,” says Lehberg. “So we spent $2.5 million upgrading fire standards that we were not legally forced to do. This meant that we opened three weeks late and had to spend another $1.2 million housing and feeding our students in hotels. So we did the right thing, even if we were penalized for it.”
Cost of CAMPUS1 MTL
Starting at $995 monthly before adjusting for the dining plan, CAMPUS1 MTL is priced slightly below McGill’s ‘best bed’ residence price. “But there’s a huge difference in terms of quality. By comparison, our place looks like a boutique hotel for 18 year-olds!” concludes Lehberg.
420 Sherbrooke St. W.
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1B2
Mon – Fri 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sat – Sun 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.