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After deal with government, Chinatown YMCA to remain open for at least 10 years

Champagne was an early tell that the YMCA could stay.Thursday, June 28, 2018.
Champagne was an early tell that the YMCA could stay.Thursday, June 28, 2018. Billy Shields/Global News

Though YMCA staff were tight-lipped Thursday morning about the nature of the announcement they were going to make, an early tip-off came after reporters got to the lobby — champagne was being served to a crowd of people gathered there.

The YMCA in Complexe Guy-Favreau has reached a tentative deal to remain at the site over the next 10 years. The terms of the lease are confidential. It is the result of about a year and a half of making calls, knocking on doors and negotiating with the federal government.

“When you start a year like we engaged in, you hope for the best,” said YMCA Quebec President Stéphane Vaillancourt.

“And you make all the calls and you try to talk to the right people, and you hope for the best and hope something good happens. And that’s exactly what happened.”

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READ MORE: Montreal’s Chinatown YMCA to close its doors for good

The YMCA has been housed in Complexe Guy-Favreau, which is owned by the federal government, for 30 years. In 2006, the federal government started charging meaningful rent, and by March of 2017, the YMCA announced it would likely have to leave unless it could find a solution.

The arrangement struck by the two parties also includes renovations.

“It’s been a long process, but the outcome was great, and the outcome is a ten-year lease that is going to serve the community and ensure renovations,” said Marc Miller, the federal MP in that riding.