July 11, 2019 11:13 am
Updated: July 11, 2019 5:20 pm

1st phase of MR-63 STM project in Griffintown under construction

WATCH: A new sustainable development complex in Griffintown is giving a whole new meaning to the phrase, reduce, reuse, recycle. A pair of brothers from Montreal are converting the old MR-63 metro cars into a cafe and bar as part, of an innovative new neighborhood complex. Global's Phil Carpenter has more.

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The first phase of a project to reinvigorate some of the original Société de transport de Montréal (STM) cars is under construction in the Sud-Ouest’s Griffintown neighbourhood.

Two MR-63 wagons are set to become part of a public square at the corner of Peel and Ottawa streets that will include a café, a bar and an open terrace complete with microbrewed beer, art and pop-up design shops.

READ MORE: After 52 years, Montreal Metro’s MR-63 cars go on final ride

“I think it’s a such great idea to make sure that those cars — even those that are not being used anymore — stay vibrant and alive in our memory,” Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said at the project’s unveiling last year.

WATCH: How STM conductors learn to drive the AZUR Metro cars

The construction is part of a larger, permanent three-storey complex that is expected to open in 2021, and the project is the brainchild of brothers Frédéric and Étienne Morin-Bordeleau, co-founders of Project MR-63.

“It should create a sense of pride, definitely, because it’s unique in the world,” Frédéric said a few months ago at the unveiling of the project.

The first phase of a project to reinvigorate some of the original STM cars is under construction in Griffintown.

Phil Carpenter/Global News

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The building was designed by architectural firm Rayside Labossière and will have solar panels to make it carbon neutral.

READ MORE: Montreal says goodbye to the original 1966 Metro car

The aim is to showcase local creations through art galleries, a design shop, a food counter, a meeting space, a stage or concert hall and a relaxation area in a multilevel structure composed of the two-ton wagons stacked inside an eco-friendly glass shell.

“It’s our mission here to promote local talent art, design and gastronomy section,” Frédéric told Global News.

The first phase is set to open to the public from July 19 to Sept. 15. The project is estimated to cost $7 million.

WATCH: Longueuil resident advocates for better access to STM Metro

The project is a result of a 2016 call for proposals by Montreal’s transit authority for members of the public to buy and transform the first-generation cars, which have been gradually replaced.

READ MORE: Plans unveiled for new public building made with old Montreal subway cars

Each wagon was sold for a price between $750 and $1,000, plus shipping. Applicants had to present a project that was environmentally friendly, included a plan for financing and honoured the cars’ legacy.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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