March 28, 2018 8:56 pm

Woes continue as Bishop Street loses another merchant

For rent and for sale signs dominate this once-thriving block of Bishop Street

Billy Shields/Global News
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Mesa 14 is the latest restaurant to permanently shut its doors on the stretch of Bishop Street between Ste-Catherine Street and de Maisonneuve. The Mexican eatery fought to stay open in the face of property taxes nearing almost $40,000, and additional fees on top of that.

“To expect any business to survive 42 months behind an eight-foot fence that is opaque is insane,” said Mike Coghely, the restaurant’s former owner. The site is now for rent, one of many vacant businesses on the once-thriving block.

Many merchants along the corridor were angered at having to pay fees approaching $1,000 a year to Destination Centre-Ville, a non-profit organization aimed at promoting the city’s downtown. They told Global News the organization should have done a better job of softening the blow caused by the construction.

“There’s no vision — people can’t even see me,” said Elio Schiavi, the owner of Ferrari, a restaurant near the corner of Ste-Catherine Street.

Destination Centre Ville didn’t return a request for comment by Global News.

The city sent a written statement: There are “millions of dollars available to merchants to help them cope with construction. It is then up to [organizations] to ensure such programs are put to good use as we’ve seen with other streets.”

The construction, on an STM ventilation system, is slated to last until 2020.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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