The old Seville Theatre has sat empty for many a decade now,& it's a mess and an eyesore, left basically to decay where it stands,but now they may finally do something with it. It's too bad that most of the old theatres were not saved or restored,some were incredibly built.... Here's the story from today's Gazette
NTREAL -- After years of serving as a downtown eyesore, the block including the storied former Seville Theatre gets a major shot in the arm Monday with the expected announcement of a plan worth more than $100 million to build condos and storefronts on the strip.
Two Montreal companies, the Claridge investment firm and the real estate developer Prével, are partners in the plan to build Le Séville, as the development on the north side of Ste. Catherine St. W. between Chomedey and Lambert Closse Sts. will be called.
Le Séville will include a 20-storey tower on the west corner connected to an 11-storey building on the east corner and one rising seven storeys in the rear, Jacques Vincent, co-president of Prével, told The Gazette.
They will include about 350 to 450 condos, and stores at street level. Construction is to begin this fall, and the first move-ins by tenants are planned for the spring of 2012.
Unlike previous proposals with Concordia University as a possible participant, this plan, to be designed by the Cardinal Hardy architectural firm, does not include student housing, Vincent added.
"The economic crisis made that unfeasible," he said.
Instead, "it will be all condos."
The preliminary plan is to build at least one-third of the units to sell at what is considered an affordable rate for condos - under $200,000.
"There very well might be students whose parents can buy units for them," Vincent said. "Other people may buy units and rent them out."
Roger Peace, president of the Shaughnessy Village Association, a residents' group in the area, was pleased there won't be student housing.
"We prefer condos," Peace said. "Students are transient. These condos will be for middle-class families. That will bring stability."
And not a bit too soon, Peace said.
Right now, the block just east of the Pepsi Forum, Alexis Nihon Plaza and the Montreal Children's Hospital attracts vagrants, and some people are afraid to walk on the block, Peace said.
Along with adding a solid new project on that section of Ste. Catherine St., Peace said it might be time to consider relocating Chez Doris, a homeless women's day centre located steps away on Chomedey St.
"That place closes at 4 p.m. and the men wait for some of the ladies. Some prostitute them out, get drunk and start yelling. It's really rough."
In the 26 years since the Seville Theatre closed, there have been many promises for the block, including restoring the theatre as a glorious stage and building a hotel. But this time it's for real, Vincent said.
"We just say 'look at our track record.'
"We have 30 years of experience, including building some projects that were not in an easy environment."
Prével's projects include converting a former cigarette factory, the Imperial Tobacco building in St. Henri, into a 725-unit condo building. Only six or seven units remain unsold, he said. Another Prével project is the Lowney condo complex on the site of a former chocolate factory in Griffintown. That project is not yet completed.
"We know how to build affordable, accessible housing," Vincent said.
Le Séville "will conform to all current zoning by-laws," Vincent stated, and to recommendations by the city's public consultations office, which approved a 20-storey height limit in a plan by Claridge for the site last year that was mainly for student housing.
Vincent said all that is left is to submit a final design to obtain the demolition and building permits from the Ville Marie borough.
Ville Marie borough spokesperson Anne-Sophie Harrois confirmed yesterday the borough has been in talks about the Seville block. While the borough is keen to proceed with a development project, Harrois could not say if it will object to any aspect of the newest proposal.
Although they plan to demolish what's left of the Seville, Vincent said Claridge and Prével must present a plan for how to preserve some essence of the theatre, designated by the city as a historic building in 1990.
That could include rebuilding part of the facade in the new buildings or simply including photographs of the old Seville; this hasn't been decided, Vincent stressed.
Dinu Bumbaru, policy director of Heritage Montreal, an architectural preservation group that pushed for the 1990 designation, was generally positive about the news, but said there is not much left of the Seville that is worth saving.
"That's the greatest disappointment in this story," Bumbaru said.
"We wanted the Seville to be protected, but that didn't happen. (In 1990) the interior was all there. But over the years a trap door opened in the ceiling and the snow started falling in.
"The building became an orphan"
Cheers, ! HF&RV