A century-old building formerly the home to the Loews Theatre will be demolished to make way for a new multi-million-dollar condominium project.
Construction and demolition led by Brivia Group in partnership with China-based Tianqing Group, is set to begin this summer on a 19-storey residential and commercial space in Montreal’s downtown core.
The future neoclassical style building will stand at the corner of Mansfield and Cathcart streets, steps away from Montreal’s famous Ste-Catherine Street.
“This is a space right in the heart of Downtown Montreal,” said Vincent Kou, Brivia Group vice-president. “The interest in downtown remains. It will come back.”
The new living space, Kou says, will be modern and is being built for the current pandemic living. It will including luxuries such as infinity swimming pools, conference rooms and golf simulators.
Despite the market slow down and a home buyer exodus to the suburbs, Kou isn’t worried about the success of the building.
He claims markets are incrementally on the rise.
“The market is picking up and sales are slowly going up,” Kou said.
The residential units will start at $350,000 and can go up to $1.5 million for a studio apartment.
“Not again. It’s happening over and over again. Why do we need more condos?” said Taika Baillargeon, assistant director of policy at Heritage Montreal.
Baillargeon is concerned with what she calls a growing trend in the city with a number of long-standing buildings being demolished and rebuilt. She said she worries that the city’s heritage is being bought and lost by this redevelopment.
The Loews theatre was built in 1917. The grand brick building was once recognized as the Vaudeville movie house, Baillargeon said.
“Honestly, there is nothing left from that period. Most of the theatres from that time are gone,” Baillargeon said, pointing to the Empress theatre which she says is one of the only theatres left and it is set to be redeveloped.
With painted ceilings and “magnificent” crown mouldings, the former Loews theatre architecture is worth preserving, Baillargeon said.
While the building is not protected, she would prefer to see the iconic space persevered and adapted — like it was during the time that it was home to the Mansfield Gym.
Kou said the developer will try its best.
“We are conscious of preserving the Montreal heritage.”
According to Kou, some of the historical pieces of the building will be saved and preserved.
Brivia Group plans to commemorate the history by creating a homage “alley way” project that will be adjacent to the building.
“I’m skeptical of that,” Baillargeon said.
The project has an estimated value said to be $200 million.
The first units are set to be available in 2024.
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