MONTREAL – Looking at the crumbling façade of the historic George Stephen House leaves Patrick Houston distraught.
“It’s tragic. It tears me up,” he told Global News.
For Houston, the damage is personal.
He’s a descendent of the Meighen family.
They took over the house from George Stephen soon after it was built in the late 1800s.
Houston’s grandmother lived in the house until it was converted to a private club – the Mount Stephen Club – in 1926.
“I have great memories, fantastic memories. Just knowing it’s here, this beautiful relic of the past, it’s always made me so happy,” he said.
“It’s been a huge source of pride.”
The place is so special to him, he got married there in 2006.
His brother and parents also got married there, saying they all appreciate the sense of history surrounding their former family home.
“I had my tasting for my wedding in the room where Alexander Graham Bell asked for money for his telephone idea and George Stephen said you are crazy, it’s never going to work,” said Houston.
Dozens of descendants from the original owners still live in Montreal, including Nikola Reford.
“I think it’s just criminal anything untoward has happened to the building,” she said.
She’s written a letter to all levels of government, urging them to intervene.
“I am almost wondering if maybe the Quebec government should take it over and restore it,” said Reford.
The building is designated nationally and provincially as a historic site.
The Tidan group started a project three years ago, converting it into a 90-room boutique hotel that will be called the Mount Stephen Hotel.
WATCH: Mount Stephen Club renovations
The developers had promised to maintain and incorporate the architectural jewel into the hotel project, but construction of an underground garage caused the foundation to start sinking, creating structural damage to the inside and outside of the building.
“There was no mistakes. It was unforeseen, but accidental,” said Roberto Nidelli, the project manager for the Mount Stephen Hotel.
The developers are resolute, dismissing suggestions they didn’t do their due diligence during construction and insisting the building isn’t lost.
“When the remedial works are complete, the Mount Stephen Club will be as it was years in the past,” insisted Nidelli.
The hotel project sign outside reads: “The legacy lives on.”
Seeing the state of the building now, Houston isn’t convinced what kind of future it has.
‘I just want it fixed,” he said.