Maison de Radio-Canada sold, broadcaster moving next door

CBC/Radio-Canada in Montreal will have a new home, but it won't be very far from the existing one.

New building will be built in parking lot east of existing Radio-Canada building

Maison Radio-Canada, built in 1973, is located in Montreal's Ville-Marie borough. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

CBC/Radio-Canada in Montreal will have a new home, but it won't be very far from the existing one.

An internal memo released Wednesday said the broadcaster's board of directors has approved a proposal for a new broadcast centre.

The new building is to be constructed at the corner of René-Levesque Boulevard East and Papineau Avenue. That would appear to be the eastern parking lot of the existing Radio-Canada property.

The real estate developer Broccolini will construct the new building. CBC/Radio-Canada is to become a tenant under a 30-year lease.

The development company Groupe Mach Inc. has purchased the existing building and the western parking lot. In a release issued last spring, the board of directors said it was considering four bids for its sale.

The acquisitions are contingent on the Treasury Board of Canada's approval.

Two projects shortlisted in May

The broadcaster announced in May that it was considering two proposals for a new building, both of which were planned to be built next to the existing location.

"With this decision, the public broadcaster is committed to remaining in the neighbourhood where it currently resides," said CBC/Radio-Canada Executive Vice-President of French Services Louis Lalande at the time.

The sun rises over the Maison Radio-Canada on Sept. 21 (Susan Mckenzie/CBC)

Design to be unveiled Thursday

Details, along with some photos of the design for the new building, will be released at a formal announcement on Thursday.

Héritage Montreal spokesman Dinu Bumbaru is reserving judgment until he sees the new plans, but told CBC News it's worth trying to preserve the old building.

"From the bridge, it has a personality," he said.

Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly said she's pleased to hear the new facility will remain in its old neighbourhood. The logo on the Maison Radio-Canada tower can be seen from across the downtown.

"It's also important the people working at CBC/Radio-Canada have access to modern facilities and I understand that the process has been done in an open and transparent way," she said.

Historic building

There's been talk of moving out of the Maison de Radio-Canada, which was built in 1973, for about a decade.

The 23-floor tower serves as the broadcast headquarters of CBC's French-speaking service, Radio-Canada.  

The federal government, CBC/Radio-Canada and the City of Montreal decided on the location of the building in 1963.

Some 678 families — roughly 5,000 people — were forced to relocate before the broadcaster took possession of the land.