New owner of former Children's Hospital hints at using site for baseball stadium

The new owner of the former Montreal Children's Hospital says the site has been "favoured for a future baseball stadium in Montreal."

Major league ballpark at corner of Atwater and René-Lévesque would be tight squeeze

The old Montreal Children's has been dormant since the hospital moved to the MUHC earlier this year. (CBC)

The new owner of the former Montreal Children's Hospital says the site has been "favoured for a future baseball stadium in Montreal."

Luc Poirier made the comment in a statement on Monday announcing the purchase of the 1.4-million square foot property at René-Lévesque Boulevard and Atwater Street. 

Details of the winning bid were not disclosed, nor were any official plans for the site. 

In an interview with CBC, Poirier said that a baseball stadium is only one of many possibilities for the site. 

Luc Poirier has expanded his Montreal-area real estate empire with the purchase of the former home of the Montreal Children's Hospital. (Emily Brass/CBC)
"I have a meeting scheduled in the next week with one of the biggest major league baseball persons," he said.

"I have only one [person], but a big one. A big, big one."

Poirier said that the purchase price will be revealed in about three or four months when the transaction is made official. 

Condos, offices, seniors residences are also possible, he noted. 

Poirier said that he would be inclined to demolish the six buildings that comprised the old hospital, as home buyers now prefer higher ceilings and more windows than currently exist in the structure.

Plans for the future usage of the property should be clearer in about one year's time, Poirier added. 

The landmark property was put up for bids after being vacated when the longtime hospital moved to the MUHC superhospital in May.

Poirer, 38, became a high-profile player in local real estate following a series of ventures, including a failed bid to develop land on Île-Charron. An outcry led the province to purchase Poirier's property for $15 million in 2011. 

Poirier has also been behind a high-profile bid to build a tunnel to the South Shore in recent years.

Could a stadium work?

A major league baseball stadium would require more than just demolishing the current structure. It would also require expanding onto adjacent properties, such as the newly renovated adjacent Cabot Park. 

The combined property bordering René-Lévesque Boulevard, Ste-Catherine Street, Atwater Street and Lambert-Closse Street would measure around 190 metres by 220 metres, which would represent a tight fit but would measure something to similar to Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Luc Poirier, the new owner of the former Montreal Children's Hospital site, says that he is open to using the site for a major league baseball stadium. (Bing Maps)

Poirier said Monday that the stadium project would emulate Fenway Park in Boston, which is built on a similar small footprint.

It would require absorbing adjacent parks and streets, he said. 

The space would be close to public transit but would come with very little parking. It could rejuvenate a park of the city that has been slightly moribund since the closure of the original Montreal Forum.

The spot has rarely been discussed as a possible site for a baseball stadium, with speculation focusing more on areas near Griffintown and Pointe Ste-Charles. 

Mayor Denis Coderre is a major proponent of a return to major league baseball in Montreal but hasn't offered up a potential location for a new stadium.

YMCA co-ordinator Jery Ralainony had proposed earlier this month that the space be used temporarily to house Syrian refugees.