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Ahead: A brighter horizon for Cabot Square

Plans due; Downtown area in search of an identity

 

Source: The Gazette

 

Cty councillor Karim Boulos is standing in the Canadian Centre for Architecture, airing his optimism over a scale model of what is known as "the Cabot Square area" - a part of the Peter McGill district he represents.

 

But the Cabot Square area is also a stretch of Ste. Catherine St. that makes many Montrealers wince.

 

The thoroughfare between Lambert Closse and Chomedey Sts. has been this city's version of a picture of Dorian Gray, a pastiche of boarded-up storefronts, crumbling facades and grafitti that seems to have spread while other neighbourhoods renewed themselves.

 

However, by this time next Monday, Boulos and the rest of the city will get a bigger glimpse of what might happen to the piece of downtown that's been in search of an identity for nearly a generation. That's when three teams of architects and urban planners will submit their versions of what should be done to revive the Cabot Square area.

 

Boulos, Ville Marie borough mayor Benoit Labonté and members of an alliance of neighbourhood businesses and residents met the press yesterday to detail the attempts to revitalize the neighbourhood.

 

The planning teams were formed after a collection of 25 business, property owners and residents' associations started the Table de concertation du centre-ville ouest.

 

"The properties may be empty but the owners are still paying taxes," Boulos said. "They haven't left, they're waiting to see what's going to happen."

 

The plans submitted by the teams will be judged by a jury that includes architect and Harvard professor Joan Busquest, Dinu Bumbaru of Heritage Montreal and founding director Phyllis Lambert of the Canadian Centre for Architecture.

 

The successful submission will form the basis for an urban plan that will produced by the borough and submitted to public consultations.

 

Boulos suggests that if everything goes well, changes in the district might begin "by this fall."

 

And for Lambert, whose architectural centre sprawls across the neighbourhood's southern edge, change is what's needed for a district that spent decades losing more than it's gained.

 

"Over the last years, this area has deteriorated miserably," she said. "There used to be the Forum and all those stores where the Faubourg (Ste. Catherine) is. ... But it just goes down the drain further and further.

 

"Then there's the block ... just to the east of the Forum with the (Seville) theatre on it, which has been boarded up for years.

 

"And this just destroys the whole area. People have no respect (for the neighbourhood), and why would you? People just walk down the street and it's so miserable."

 

Lambert's nephew, Stephen Bronfman, is chairman of Claridge Inc., an investment company that owns the Seville Theatre block.

 

Asked in October about the condition of the block, Lambert told The Gazette: "It is coming along. Slowly, but we are working closely with the city and other landlords in the area. It takes time to do properly."

 

Labonté says a development project for the Seville block is under study by the borough's urban committee. Boulos has said in earlier interviews that a private investor plans to turn the block into student residences.

 

"What I can tell you about this project," Labonté said, "is that that there will be lots of room for students - especially for Concordia University - and the design of the building will be quite impressive. ... I'm pretty confident this project at the Seville Theatre will start the renewal of this leg of Ste. Catherine St."

 

A decision by the borough on which development plan will be used is expected in May. But final approval will rest with the city's executive committee.

 

In the meantime, Montrealers and the people who own the storefronts that make them wince wait to see what's going to happen.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Montreal April 9/cnwtelbec/

 

Press invitation unveiling of proposals Charrette for redevelopment of the Cabot Square area.

 

The table of concertation of Montreal centre ville ouest will unveil peliminary proposals of redevelopment of the Alexis Nihon plaza, the former Seville theatre, the Montreal Children's hospital and the properties of the Evangel pentecostal church.

 

 

Public presentation of proposals

 

Date: Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Time: from 3 pm to 8 pm

Place: Forum Pepsi

 

 

Est-ce que que quelqu'un a l'intention d'y aller?

Il y aura semble-t-il presentations graphiques et de maquettes, ca pourrait etre interessant.

 

 

Pour ceux que cela pourrait interesser il va aussi y avoir un devoilement devant la presse entre 3pm. et 4pm.

 

Seront presents Cameron Charlebois, president de la table de concertation du centre ville ouest.

Phyllis Lambert.

Daniel Pearl directeur de l'atelier de travail du projet.

 

Pour plus d'information ou confirmer votre intention d'assister, contacter Isabelle Huiban Centre Canadien D'Architecture,

(514) 939-7001

Marie-Sophie Couture, Convercite, (514) 707-5743

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J'étais au Forum Pepsi ce soir par pur hasard et j'ai vu qu'ils présentaient les 3 propositions pour le Square Cabot. J'ai pris des photos avec mon iPhone donc elle ne sont pas superbe mais au moins j'en ai pris.

 

GoMontreal

 

 

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Pretty nice, except that this same proposal comes back every 10-15 years.

 

It was proposed in the late 80s, and it was proposed again when the Canadiens moved to their new arena in the mid 90s.

 

All we know is that these guys are serious investors. The Bronfman sure have a lot of money.

 

 

The market will tell. There's too many office tower projects right now. This one is another fighting for a still weak market!!!

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Pretty nice, except that this same proposal comes back every 10-15 years.

 

It was proposed in the late 80s, and it was proposed again when the Canadiens moved to their new arena in the mid 90s.

 

All we know is that these guys are serious investors. The Bronfman sure have a lot of money.

 

 

The market will tell. There's too many office tower projects right now. This one is another fighting for a still weak market!!!

 

I think some luxury condominiums would work well in this area.

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