Westmount hopes demolition of drab building will help revitalize Ste-Catherine St.
But business owner has filed injunction to prevent building at Ste-Catherine and Atwater from coming down
Westmount is hoping a new development project will bring life to a part of Ste-Catherine Street where stores have closed and buildings have been neglected.
Real estate firm BSR Group has filed a demolition request with the city to get rid of a drab commercial building across the street from the Alexis-Nihon mall and replace it with a ten-storey commercial and residential building.
Just east of there, on Ste-Catherine near Cabot Square, new condos, shops and cafés are sprouting up.
Coun. Cynthia Lulham says the goal is to mimic that revitalization for the Westmount side of the street.
"If you remember what it looked like on the other side of Atwater before and you see it now, so that's our plans for over here," Lulham said.
City rezoned to attract development
The city rezoned the area to include residential to allow for condos on the top floors of the new building.
Lulham explained that the city made the change to attract development after hiring a consulting firm to help find ways to revitalize its commercial areas.
Westmount recently wrapped up renovations on Greene Avenue.
"The proposed new development [on Ste-Catherine Street] would be the first of — we hope — many more," she said.
But the demolition may have to wait. The owner of a dépanneur in the building was granted an injunction to prevent the building from coming down. His lease ends in 2020.
The owner isn't alone in opposing the development. Some Westmounters say they don't want condo projects to gain popularity in their city like they have in Montreal.
Residents have until Feb. 2 to weigh in on the demolition request, which they must do by writing a letter to the city clerk. A hearing on the matter is set for Feb. 19.
Lulham says she believes it's a step in the right direction to give the area another boost.
"That type of development is more what we're in favour of now, [rather] than this segregation of suburbia over there, retail over here," Lulham said, referring to the Westmount side of the street being seen as separate from the Montreal side.
"It's live, work, play, so you can live, work and play within your community."
with files from Sarah Leavitt