Construction of 34-storey residential tower and hotel at René-Lévesque and Mackay: "no" to tower, conditional "yes" to hotel



    MONTREAL, Sept. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - The Office de consultation publique de
Montréal (OCPM) makes public today the report on the consultation held in May
on the planned construction of a residential building and hotel at the corner
of Mackay and René-Lévesque, in the west end of the borough of Ville-Marie.
    The project involves the construction of a 34-storey residential building
comprising 180 housing units and 230 underground parking spaces. It would also
include a hotel and commercial space. The complex would be erected on what is
now an outdoor parking lot, north of four Victorian buildings along
René-Lévesque Boulevard. The residences would be integrated into the complex
and their facades restored. One building on Mackay Street would also be
preserved.
    The project calls for amendments to the Montréal Master Plan and the
borough of Ville-Marie planning by-law, primarily in terms of height and
density. As the draft by-law amending the zoning by-law of the borough of
Ville-Marie was adopted pursuant to section 89, subparagraph 3 of the Charter
of Ville de Montréal, it is not subject to approval by referendum.
    The 150 or so citizens who participated in the consultation all agreed on
the importance of revitalizing this part of the city, greatly destructured
since the '60s, due in part to the establishment of several ground-level
parking lots. However, opinions diverged as to whether or not this type of
complex should be erected on Mackay Street, in a fragile area whose identity
stems from a built heritage that should be preserved and enhanced. Moreover,
it is important to note that very little documentation was provided for the
commission and public to familiarize themselves with the project and evaluate
applications for variances to municipal by-laws.
    The commission finds that the appropriateness of building the proposed
34-storey tower among the surrounding three- and four-storey buildings, and
its vital contribution to the profitability of the project, have not been
proved, while the construction of a tower of that height, in that area, would
constitute a major variance to the Montréal Master Plan. As a matter of fact,
the developer indicated that the implementation of that part of the project
was not planned for the short term. Moreover, the tower's effect on
sunlighting and wind flow has not been specified.
    The commission believes that authorization for projects in this part of
the city should not be granted too hastily, and should be based on an overall
vision for the area, where tall buildings authorized in the 1960s have led to
problems of destructuring. Given developers' renewed interest in the area, a
consistent vision is required to strengthen the urban fabric. The commission
therefore recommends that the variance allowing the construction of the
34-storey tower not be approved.
    As to the construction of the 11-storey hotel, it may spur accelerated
development in the area, if the City ensures that the architectural concept is
in keeping with the surrounding built environment. The commission recommends
that this part of the project at 1475 René-Lévesque Boulevard West be examined
in the light of a consistent vision of the area's future and clear guidelines
structuring the development of the Bishop-Crescent area.

    All available information pertaining to the consultation, including the
report, may be obtained at the OCPM offices, the Direction du greffe de la
Ville de Montréal, 275 Notre-Dame Street East, and the Ville-Marie borough
office, 888 de Maisonneuve Blvd. East, 5th floor. The documentation is also
available on the Office Web site, at www.ocpm.qc.ca .




For further information:

For further information: Luc Doray, (514) 872-3568, Cell: (514)
977-8365


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