A plan to demolish a 19th-century apartment block in the borough of Ville-Marie has been temporarily put on hold following an outcry by residents of the neighbourhood.

The apartment block, located on De Lorimier Avenue, was to be razed to make way for a residential tower that is twice as high as the current building.

But the borough has decided to delay its consideration of the demolition permit after residents organized a letter-writing campaign expressing concerns about the project.

​They are worried the taller residential tower will block views of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and hurt property values.

"For the people of the neighbourhood [the project] promises to be a visual nuisance," said Nicolas Fournier, one of the organizers of the campaign.

The development company, Immo Première, wants to replace the current apartment block, which dates from 1892, with an eight-story, 63-unit tower.

They have proposed integrating the facade of the current building into its plans, even though it isn't protected by heritage status.

Projet Montréal city councillor Valérie Plante is pushing Immo Première to revise its plans and incorporate certain heritage features of the existing building, such as the exterior staircases.

She called the staircases part of "Montreal's trademark."

There are 15 residential units in the current apartment block, most of which are empty. Tenants have reported receiving payments in exchange for leaving the premises by April 1.

Immo Première declined an interview request from Radio-Canada.

with files from Radio-Canada's Vincent Resseguier