Transfer of the Foyer Hellénique pour Personnes Âgées to the HCGM

At a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal (HCGM) held Thursday, May 27, 2021 on the Zoom Platform, HCGM President Andreas Crilis officially announced that on Friday, May 28, 2021,  the organization will be proceeding with the transfer of the Foyer Hellénique pour Personnes Âgées (also known as “the Foyer”) to the HCGM.

The meeting continued with a detailed presentation by Achilles Nikopoulos, President of the Board of Directors of the Foyer, where it was announced that the Foyer will be transferred to the HCGM by way of a donation. In doing so, the Foyer is transferring to the HCGM an immovable property located at 5775 and 5777 Wilderton Avenue, with a municipal evaluation of approximately $15 million, in good working condition. There remains, however, the matter of an outstanding receivable of approximately $400,000 that the Foyer owes the HCGM. On this issue, the Foyer was advised by the HCGM that after much deliberation, given the difficult economic realities of COVID-19, the organization was not prepared to write off this receivable.

Given its excellent financial position, the Foyer decided to take a loan not only to reimburse the amount owed to the HCGM, but also to ensure the completion of certain major repairs that are urgent at this time, such as the repaving of the Foyer parking lot.  This $1 million loan, with an interest rate of (3.28%) and a reasonable and manageable monthly payment of $4,889.02, allows the Foyer to come to the HCGM with its debt paid and with some liquidity to facilitate its operation and other needs of the HCGM during these unprecedented times.

The motions to accept the donation were approved by a majority vote.

The President took the opportunity on this historic day to thank the founders of the Foyer: Adrian Maris, Evangelos Hadjis, Nicholas Pagonis, Spero Christopoulos, Dimitrios Vourtzoumis, Nikitas Klapsis, Alekos Theofanis and Dimitrios Koritsidis.  He also thanked the Board of Directors of the HCGM at that time who, more than three decades ago, had the foresight to embark on this project, and more importantly to ensure that the interests of the HCGM were properly protected, guaranteeing that the Foyer would in the  future become part of the HCGM’s real estate portfolio. In doing so, our Community benefits today from the only revenue generating real estate property in the history of our organization to be acquired at no cost to the HCGM. We all owe these people a debt of gratitude.

He also thanked the former Presidents of the Foyer Board of Directors, Nicholas Pagonis Sprio Hadjis, Effie Gournakis and Dimitra Kostarides, as well as all the previous Board members of the Foyer for their devotion to the Foyer, and their exemplary work in operating and maintaining this property for the last 35 years.

A Press Conference immediately followed for members of the media, also on the Zoom platform.

The Board of Directors of the HCGM is dedicated to ensuring a sustainable future for our Community and to safeguard it from uncertainty and instability. Our schools, churches and community centres are our shared patrimony, and all have an obligation to ensure their existence for the generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How did the Foyer historically come about?

In the early 1980’s, the Hellenic Community of Montreal (as it was called at that time) decided to take advantage of federal programs for low-income housing.  As part of this program, a new building had to be constructed and  the loan would be guaranteed by the CMHC. 

To qualify for funding, there was a requirement in the federal program that the property had to be owned by a single purpose entity, which meant that although this endeavour was spearheaded by the Community, a new organization had to be created.  Thus, the Foyer Hellénique pour Personnes Âgées was founded by the Hellenic Community to fulfill that requirement.

The land upon which the building was built was sold by the Hellenic Community to the Foyer and it was decided that, as part of the construction, there would be an office component which would house the offices of the Community.  As a result, a commercial lease was entered into between the Community and the Foyer for a period of 35 years.  

Although Foyer is a separate independent organization, the administration of the Hellenic Community at the time acted in a diligent and prudent manner to ensure that this asset would eventually become part of the real estate portfolio of the Community.  As part of the Hellenic Community’s requirements, in the lease agreement for the office space, the Community was granted the right to acquire the property, a right which was acknowledged and accepted by the Foyer, thus ensuring that this property would return to its rightful owner.  

Over the years the HCGM has continually had representation on the Board of Directors of the Foyer to have oversight that this important asset was being properly and effectively operated and maintained.  The Board of Directors of Foyer over the years successfully operated this property.

Why does the HCGM have the right to acquire the property?

When the Hellenic Community leased its office space from the Foyer, the Community was granted the right to purchase this property, which ensured that in the future, this immovable property would be transferred to the HCGM.

Why did the HCGM have representation on the Foyer board?

The HCGM has historically had representation on the Foyer Board to ensure that the interests of the HCGM would be protected, given that this property would eventually become an asset of the community. It was in the HCGM’s best interest to be part of the Foyer Board, to ensure that it is fully rented, that the apartments are kept up to date, etc. so that the asset would come back to the HCGM in the best possible condition.

Why has the transfer taken so many months?

The HCGM has a fiduciary responsibility to manage all its properties in the best interest of the community and to look at every option and opportunity that ensures its continued stability and sustainability. This was a multi faceted transaction with tax considerations and approval of government subsidies. In addition, we had the ability to take this time because having representation on the Foyer board ensured we knew our rights were protected until we were ready to proceed. We used this time to structure this deal in the best interest of the HCGM.  

Why not write off the receivable owed by the Foyer?

The decision not to write off the Foyer receivable was one the HCGM did not take lightly. After much consideration and analysis, given the financial impact of COVID and the difficult economic position that the HCGM continues to find itself in, it did not make good financial sense for the HCGM to forgive a debt of this size and did not protect the interests of the community.