The city of Montreal is pledging to pay the rent for Sun Youth’s new headquarters for the next three years — totalling more than $1 million.
“We’re going to be in a transitional phase for the next three to five years, and we’re still working on finding our long-term solution,” said Sun Youth property management director Ernie Rosa.
The new location at 6700 Parc Ave. is expected to be up and running in October, after a rather tough time looking for a new property.
The non-profit was forced to leave its previous location after the building’s owners, the Commission Scolaire de Montréal (CSDM), took back the space to accommodate a growing number of students.
Sun Youth had been operating out of the former Baron Byng High School on Saint-Urban Street. The organisation didn’t want to leave the Plateau neighbourhood and found it difficult acquiring a low-rent location that fit its needs.
Along with the new facility, a separate annex on the corner of Parc Avenue and Mont-Royal will be used for sport and recreation activities, as well as programming for seniors. The building is already owned by the city and will be provided to the non-profit, making it a homecoming of sorts.
“We used to be there from 1967 to 1981, it was the home for Sun Youth. It’s kind of going back to our roots in preparation for our final place,” Rosa said.
There are a few spots in mind for the permanent Sun Youth headquarters, but their sights remain set on the Plateau. Rosa mentioned they are looking at parts of the Hotel-Dieu hospital property that could be made available in a few years.
“It has been a dream of our two founders to remain in the Plateau. Once we move out and we’re settled for the next three to five years, then it’s really get down and work hard to find a place for the next 50 or 60 years,” Rosa said.
With the long-term goals in mind, the organization says it’s thrilled with the city’s donation. It allows them to continue operating through the transition period without having to reduce staff or services.
— With files from Global’s Annabelle Olivier