MONTREAL – For years, Montrealers were used to admiring a national landmark on Drummond Street.
These days, they’re not pointing at the Mount Stephen Club for its historic charm – rather, they’re doing it over fears the building could collapse.
Massive steel posts have been wedged up against the façade of the heritage-protected building as the 136-year -old structure is being renovated into a luxury boutique hotel.
But something terrible went wrong during construction and part of the grey stone wall could fall.
“We are extremely worried with the building,” Dinu Bumbaru, the Policy Director of Héritage Montreal, told Global News.
He argued the government has to intervene and hire some independent engineers to evaluate what needs to be done.
“All of the actors who’ve been working on this file so far has led to that situation,” he said.
The Montreal-based real estate developer Tidan owns the property and Lemay Architecture has been awarded the contract to design the 12-story modern hotel with 80 rooms and underground parking.
But the construction problems now require the façade to be removed and later reinstalled – although a permit hasn’t been issued for this process.
Montreal’s Mayor has weighed in on the rebuilding of the national treasure.
“I’m going to look into this further,” Denis Coderre said at a city council meeting Tuesday.
The house was built in 1880 for Scottish entrepreneur George Stephen.
The president of the Bank of Montreal and founder of CP Rail lived in the mansion for three years.
The home later became a private social club in 1926.
It’s been described as “the best example of a Renaissance revival house in Canada,” by the Canadian Register of National Historic Places.
It’s the kind of place that would be fitting for a king.
In fact, Princess Margaret had dinner there during a state visit in 1958.
Bumbaru argued this isn’t the time to lay blame for the construction problems, rather, he described the condition of the home as being on life support.
“We have to consider it now in the emergency ward of the best hospital,” he said.
© 2016 Shaw Media