Montreal’s Sainte-Catherine Street to be re-imagined – but how?

WATCH:More trees, heated sidewalks, free wifi, street furniture… Montreal’s mayor has some big plans to breathe new life into one of North America’s longest commercial streets: Sainte-Catherine Street. Tim Sargeant has details.

MONTREAL — Montreal mayor Denis Coderre has some big plans to breathe new life into the city’s most important commercial district: Sainte-Catherine Street West and these include more trees, heated sidewalks, free wifi and street furniture.

READ MOREMajor changes ahead for Montreal’s Sainte-Catherine Street

The stretch of road to be redone lies between Mansfield and De Bleury Streets, eventually continuing up to Atwater Avenue.

Construction is set to take place on Montreal's Sainte-Catherine Street between Mansfield and De Bleury Streets. The City of Montreal handout
The stretch of road to be redone along Sainte -Catherine Street in Montreal lies between Mansfield and De Bleury Streets, eventually continuing up to Atwater Avenue. City of Montreal handout

This is the hub of retail and commercial shopping for residents, visitors and tourists, often acting as a bellwether to indicate the health of Montreal’s overall retail industry.

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Construction work is currently underway on Peel Street just north of Sainte-Catherine Street, and merchants have said the work there has already affected their business.

Take a look at Sainte-Catherine’s Street before and after the revamp: 

Montreal's Sainte-Catherine Street at the corner Peel on May 13, 2015. Tim Sargeant/Global News
Montreal's Sainte Catherine Street re-imagined. City of Montreal handout

Alain Creton, owner of the trendy Alexandre Restaurant told Global News business has dropped by 10 per cent.

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He said he’s anxious to learn the details of Mayor Coderre’s plans, which will be released Wednesday afternoon.

Eight years ago, former Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay ordered an entire make over for St. Laurent Boulevard, after which commercial activity never returned to the same level.

WATCH: The City of Montreal’s video showing the changes to Sainte-Catherine Street

Creton said he hopes the city has learned from that lesson, and history won’t repeat on Montreal’s downtown commercial artery.

Rental fees can run between $150 to $200 per square foot, making Sainte-Catherine Street one of the most expensive areas to set up shop in Montreal.

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High commercial property taxes also make it tough for some businesses to survive.

Boarded up buildings aren’t uncommon to find — especially in the western end of the street, which traverses the length of the city from Claremont Avenue and de Maisonneuve Boulevard in the city of Westmount to east of Viau Street in the borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

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