Saint-Hubert Plaza to get $50M makeover, new glass awning

Plans for the renovations call for replacing the 33-year-old glass structure that overhangs the sidewalks of the plaza with a lighter, more minimalist design.

Renovations will replace glass covering over sidewalks with 'lighter, brighter' structure, among other changes

An artist's concept of the new glass covering for the Plaza Saint-Hubert. (City of Montreal)

The City of Montreal will undertake a $50-million makeover of the Saint-Hubert Plaza starting next year.

The glass-covered plaza, described by the New York Times newspaper recently as a "bizarre strip of formal-wear shops touting bargain-basement prices on '80s-style prom and wedding gowns," stretches from Jean-Talon Street to Bellechasse Street.

Plans for the renovations, made public Sunday, call for replacing the 33-year-old glass structure that overhangs the sidewalks of the plaza with a more minimalist design.

As part of the project, sewers and aqueducts will be replaced, sidewalks widened, new benches and furnishings installed and landscaping and lighting improved.

"The work will have the effect of making the street more comfortable and convivial while improving its esthetic appeal and the visibility of its businesses," the city said in a news release.

As is, the New York Times picked the plaza as one of its five places to visit in Montreal, noting the neighbourhood's "growing roster of cool cafes, coffee shops, bakeries and bars."

Mayor Denis Coderre said the project will give the plaza "renewed grandeur" and bring it in to the 21st century. 

"Montrealers will benefit from a pleasing living space and a unique and attractive shopping experience," he said.

Mike Parente, ‎executive director of the Plaza St-Hubert Merchant's Association, said he believes the City of Montreal has learned from its mistakes on other redevelopment projects. (CBC)

Compensation for businesses

The work is scheduled to take place between July 2018 and March 2021, raising concern the lengthy construction project will hurt business.

Mike Parente, the executive director of the Plaza St-Hubert Merchant's Association, said leading up to the renovations they'll be speaking with merchants about their concerns.

The city is open to helping merchants in different ways, said Parente, such as providing compensation for lost sales and reducing taxes.  

Overall, Parente said he's "very happy" with the with the redevelopment project. He said he believes the City of Montreal will not make the same mistakes made during other large projects. 

"The city has an opportunity with this roadwork to show they've learned from St-Laurent Boulevard, St-Denis Street, and I think they have with the discussions we've had with them," said Parente.