Montreal entertainment district building to go up without federal help

The city of Montreal and the Quebec government say they're ready to go it alone with construction of one of the main buildings in the city's entertainment district, even if Ottawa doesn't contribute.

The City of Montreal and the Quebec government say they're ready to go it alone with construction of one of the main buildings in the city's entertainment district, even if Ottawa doesn't contribute.

The $16.5-million hall, to be built on the site of a demolished peep show parlour on the corner of St. Laurent Boulevard and Ste-Catherine Street, is seen as the focal point of efforts to revitalize Montreal's downtown festival quarter.

Provincial and Montreal officials were banking on federal funding for the project — but Mayor Gérald Tremblay said construction will go ahead even without Conservative support.

"The financing package is now completed, and construction will begin as soon as possible," he said Friday.

Montreal will contribute $2 million from its economic development fund.

The Fondaction CSN, Desjardins Caisse d'économie solidaire and Italian Banca Etica are contributing about $9 million, while the Quebec government is pitching in $5 million.

The building will house the "Vitrine culturelle," a Broadway-style ticket office, as well as several cultural organizations.

A rooftop terrace will be created on the building's green roof, with a view of Ste-Catherine Street, where many free festival events are staged in the summer. 

French architect Paul Andreu, who designed Beijing's bean-shaped floating opera house, has been hired to design the building.

It is scheduled to open in May 2010.

With files from the Canadian Press