REAL ESTATE PROFILE
A Q&A with Yan Le Houillier
Yan Le Houillier is the vibrant 38-year-old president of development at Groupe Magma. He grew up in Mascouche and attended Armand-Corbeil High School in nearby Terrebonne. After graduating, he headed to CEGEP Saint-Laurent to study music — specifically, the saxophone. Although he has not picked up the instrument in years, he brings a musician’s sensibility to his work.
We met at the Groupe Magma office in Laval.
What happened after CEGEP?
My father, Michel Le Houillier, came to Montreal from Rouyn-Noranda at age 18 and began working for a concrete manufacturer. Two years later he ventured out, on his own, within the same industry. Over a period of 30 years, he built a great reputation and maintained excellent relationships with the developers who were his clients.
When I graduated from CEGEP in 1999, my dad and I launched Groupe Magma together, specializing in concrete formwork. This term refers to items such as floors, stairs, columns and walls created by pouring concrete into moulds. Buildings with concrete components are quiet and durable.
When did you jump into real-estate development?
My father and I worked long hours, doubling our production annually, for a few years. Our clients are some of Montreal’s best developers. I admired their work and dreamed of constructing my own buildings. In 2005, the time was right. I launched our development division, transforming Groupe Magma into a vertically-integrated firm. Today, we are a land developer, general contractor and concrete supplier.
What were your first construction projects?
In 2006 we built Les Manoirs Masson, in Mascouche, which consists of 49 condos in seven buildings. Each structure contains seven two-bedroom units. When the project was completed I was very pleased, but found myself without anything to work on. This experience taught me that, in real-estate development, while working on a project you must always lay the groundwork for the next one.
I began scouting for land and found a large property in Terrebonne. We launched Cité des Pionniers, which comprises 315 condos in 10 buildings on a private road. It’s like a small village.
It was a giant step up from our first project. The investment was great. I was still new to real-estate development, but my father’s longevity and reputation served us well. We were able to get the financing we needed. Our targeted demographic was diverse, so we included one-, two- and three-bedroom units and penthouses.
Cité de Pionniers took five years to complete.
What happened next?
Between 2011 and 2014, Groupe Magma developed condo projects in St-Lambert, Laval and Griffintown, to name a few. In 2014, we acquired a beautiful piece of land in Ville Lorraine and created Le M Lorraine — 98 condos, close to the water. It’s really stunning.
While we were building Le M Lorraine, I heard about a public bid for a waterfront property in Montréal-Est, which is an independent municipality in full revitalization mode. At first, the location did not interest me. Then I visited the site and fell in love.
We bought the property and are creating an exciting mixed-use project called Le M Montréal-Est. It will comprise 92 condos in a seven-storey structure. There will be commercial space at the ground level, including a grocery store.
To separate the commercial floor from the dwellings we decided to do something different. We put the garage on the second floor. This means that the condos are situated on Floors 3 through 7 so that every owner can enjoy the lovely view.
Le M Montréal-Est features a 17,000square-foot terrace with a southern exposure, overlooking the river. Outdoor amenities are a swimming pool, hot tub, and fireplace; indoor ones include a gym and a reception room, complete with kitchen.
Vistas from the terrace are exquisite. On a clear day you can see Mont St-Bruno and Mont St-Hilaire.
We are very excited about this development.
What do you do when you are not working ?
My wife, Chantal, and I have two sons: Gabriel, 11, and Maxime, 9. I am a pretty busy person, but I think Chantal is even busier than me. Both boys are crazy about hockey and soccer. After office hours, I transform into a sports coach.
What puts the spring in your step?
I am a homebody by nature, and feel fortunate to earn my living creating residential projects that will have a positive impact on our clients’ quality of life. It’s thrilling to start with an empty piece of land, like a blank slate, and watch it evolve. I enjoy showing my children the results hard work can bring.
When I think back to my saxophone-playing days, I see a parallel with my chosen field. I no longer make music, but artistry is still a big part of who I am and what I do.
An artist’s rendering of Le M Montréal-Est at night shows the commercial space at ground level, garage space on the second floor, and condo units on Floors 3 through 7.
Cité des Pionniers, Groupe Magma’s project in Terrebonne, took five years to complete and comprises 315 condos in 10 buildings.
The 92 units of Le M Montréal-Est vary in size from 760 to 1,615 square feet. They occupy Floors 3 through 7, giving every owner a great view.
Le M Lorraine, a building with 98 condo units, close to the water, in the city of Lorraine.