You might not notice it the first time around, but nestled behind some fences and set back from the street is Bâtiment 7, a historic building that becomes part of Pointe-Saint-Charles’ scenery.
It will soon be getting a major makeover, a project spearheaded by Kevin McMahon.
“We want to have a grocery store, microbrewery, cafe, spaces for do-it-yourselfers and artisans,” he said.
The plan is to completely renovate the space while keeping its landmark facade.
Bâtiment 7 lies in a corner of Pointe St-Charles that was formerly dominated by industrial buildings. It is surrounded by rail yards since in its former life, the building was a warehouse for Canadian National (CN).
Now, a maintenance facility for the Agence Métropolitaine de Transport (AMT) is being built right next door, raising concerns about Bâtiment 7’s future. Heritage Montreal listed the building as threatened and McMahon fears that others could follow suit.
He doesn’t want to see another building face the wrecking ball.
“I don’t think the solution is to tear down a heritage building and build condos,” he said.
He wants a multipurpose centre instead, and McMahon is getting the support he needs not from local government, but from a contest.
Though his project has managed to raise over a $1 million so far, they entered the building into a contest to win $40,000 from the National Trust for Canada to further their efforts.
This organization promotes the revitalization of heritage buildings.
“So many of our older buildings tell a story and they often get forgotten,” said executive director Natalie Bull.
“We should be looking to these old buildings first as ways to build the future.”
McMahon says they need this money because the city is not doing enough to save these old buildings.
“Clearly there is not that much money put into saving heritage buildings, just look at churches in the area,” he said.
They expect the first phase of the renovated centre to open by 2018.