Downtown Montreal residents are concerned about the upcoming construction of another residential tower on Rue de la Montagne in the already heavily built-up Bell Center area.
The 38-story new building would sit over a listed building commissioned by Wells & Richardson in 1888 and which until recently housed the Le Bâton Rouge restaurant.
However, the new owners of 1050 rue de la Montagne, which was bought in 2021 for $28.5 million, want to transform the site into a complex of 256 houses that rise 128 meters in height.
That’s 10 more than the Cité du Commerce E-Commerce, its direct neighbour. A proposal that reminds many that Montreal urgently needs to adopt a new city plan.
“We continue to issue permits for projects that were relevant in the 1990s through the 2000s,” said Dinu Bumbaru, policy director at Héritage Montréal. We are somewhere else now. »
“We see the cumulative impact of these permits everywhere: urban forests, wind corridors, totally inhospitable places. […] We need to reduce these highs and the abuse of facadeism. Otherwise the inner city personality suffers. »
In early January, the Ville-Marie Borough’s Urban Planning Advisory Committee (CCU) adopted a “preliminary favorable opinion” on the promoters’ proposal.
If the project receives the support of the district council, planning permission can be granted.
The spokesman for the Bureau assures that “the preservation and protection of the monumental elements of the buildings are always among the priorities of the CCU”.
It also notes that a favorable opinion on this project was only given ‘by rights’ after it had been improved at the Committee’s request.
Never mind, Maryse Chapdelaine, urban planning project manager at the Peter McGill Neighborhood Table, is all the more concerned that the project, as is well known, does not provide for social housing.
“While these projects, which one might think were developed for Airbnb, are approved, Ms. Chapdelaine continues, the neighborhood remains sorely lacking in public elementary schools, parks and infrastructure (swimming pool, games, etc.) for its residents. »
Like Héritage Montréal, it requires a thorough review of the Montréal city map.
“A city map, Dinu Bumbaru illustrates, is like a yoghurt; it has an expiry date. If the plan is outdated, it must be changed. »
The company leading the project, Swimko, owned by businessman Berish Schwimmer, did not respond to our interview requests.
– With Philippe Langlois
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