Two groups are competing to redevelop Montreal’s historic Canada Malting site with very different views for its future.
The community organization Solidarite St-Henri revealed the proposed plans on Tuesday. Renwick Development, meanwhile, has already submitted their plans to the borough awaiting approval.
Solidarite St-Henri wants to see the site converted into a complex with 200 affordable rental housing units, a daycare, community gardens and a museum.
“We want to show people that it is possible to develop our city differently. We don’t need to make profit off people’s need for housing and for essential services,” said Shannon Franssen, the group’s community development coordinator.
The group has been asking the City to pass a by law, which would facilitate their ability to acquire the site. “We need the city to pass a bylaw removes the site from the private residential market” Shannon Franssen told reporters.
But while the citizens group still needs to raise millions to get off the ground, its competitor says the project will be completely financed by the private sector.
Renwick Developments owns the property which is currently zoned industrial. Their proposal includes 160 housing units for families and another 60 reserved for low-cost housing. Their plans also include a preschool, office space, an artist’s studio and a park.
“It’s the perfect place for redevelopment. For better or for worse, we all know that Griffintown has been a hot spot for redevelopment,” said Renwick Development spokesperson Glenn Castanheira.
The company is promising that the social housing is its top priority.
“The engagement that we are taking before we start developing any type of residential units or other type of office space the first thing that will be done is 60 social housing units by 2021,” Castanheira told Global News.
Montreal is eager to see the site developed but claims it doesn’t have a preference for either project.
“The plan for this sector is for mixed use, so mixed used means social housing or private housing, for example, but also other activities,” said chief of staff for Sud-Ouest Borough, Julie Bélanger.
The city is still waiting for the projects to be formally submitted. The city’s planning department will then undertake a review of the projects before making a decision.