Heritage: Concern for Chinatown’s future

Heritage: Concern for Chinatown's future

The purchase of several historic buildings in the center of Montreal’s Chinatown by a real estate developer concerns citizens, who are claiming heritage site status for the same area as Old Montreal.

Behind the Palais des congrès, at the corner of De La Gauchetière and Côté streets, is the former British and Canadian school building, designed in 1826, for the noodle and oriental cookie maker wing, in business for over 100 years. The right front door is a grand building in a part of the Free Presbyterian Church built in 1848.

The Noodles Wing sold those two buildings in March to Hillpark Capital’s developers Brandon Schiller and Jeremy Corbluth for $ 9.2 million. These are businessmen, who recently made headlines in Plateau-Mont-Royal by accusing them of attempting to evict the tenants of Manoror Lafontaine. The Chinatown task force gathered then, the daily reported on Monday. Montreal gazette.

“It’s a shock.” We thought the wing would be forever or be the last to leave the neighborhood, as the company has always been ”, commented group member Donny Seto.

At the moment, Noodle has become a tenant of the business complex and continues to operate. But the group, which brings together citizens who have the social development of the region at heart, is the assumption that the promoters have other plans. At the beginning of the year, he acquired a number of other addresses at rue De La Gauchetière, including a Chinese school dating back to the 19th century.I Century, and parking lot. Their business unit is called Investmentsments 1000 Saint-Arben.

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“There seems to be a desire to merge these lots to create one big project”, said Jonathan Cha, a founding member of the work group.

Jean-Philippe Riopel has lived for 11 years, having invested in a building that has been acquired by the Probe 1000 Saint-Urabine. It was he who alerted the group when he learned about these sales. A tourist guide in the neighborhood who has not yet received an eviction notice. However, the other two tenants of the building left the premises before and after the acquisition by the new owner.

Mr. Riopel, Mr. Cha and Mr. Seto fear that heritage buildings will be destroyed to build Condomian apartments. Mr. Seto explains that many such tower projects are underway along Wigger Avenue. “If they put twenty-story buildings in place of the most historic buildings in the neighborhood, it will destroy Chinatown,” he says.

For its part, Hillpark Capital indicates that “there are currently no official plans and that a future potential project will take into account the very rich history of the surrounding neighborhood and preserve a sensitive, architectural heritage.” Existing Buildings ”.

Heritage Montreal’s policy director Dinu Bambaru explains that it is one of the oldest districts in Montreal, where it has a foundation dating from the time of French rule. The English, Scottish and Jewish communities were then occupied by the Chinese. However, megaprojects such as the Guy-Favreau complex have already destroyed part of it. The area is part of the Conservation Area of ​​the Catholic-Chinese Mission of the Church of the Holy Spirit, which forces any demolition project to receive the approval of the Minister of Culture. The Chinatown Task Force emphasizes that provincial recognition as a heritage site will allow greater control of any development there.

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Access to accommodation

Beyond the built environment, the group believes that Gentrification can have a fatal impact on the Chinese community. Jonathan Cha says access to housing is already very limited, and upward pressure from rents may push current residents out. “We should make sure that there is a Chinese population that can live there and that there are enough premises for social, community, cultural and religious functions,” argues Mr. Cha. Without it, he fears Chinatown will turn into a benign tourist district.

Robert Beaudry, city councilor in Ville-Marie, shares citizens’ concerns. “When we look at what has happened in other commercial buildings at Papinew Avenue or Mile End, we see that these are owners who sometimes have very questionable tactics that lead to people who have been around for a very long time Leave for. There is a lot in the neighborhood, ”he indicates who is also responsible for housing on the executive committee. He stressed that an action plan to revive Chinatown would soon be made public, which would be prepared with several community partners.

Boodry says the city will use all its resources to ensure adequate development. “It is the only French-speaking Chinatown in North America. We want to increase it, not decrease it. ”

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