Public Consultation Report on Building Modification and Construction Project for Former Viger Station and Hotel Site: Agreement in Principle
Montréal, February 13, 2008 – The Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) made public today the report of the commission that held the consultation on a modification, demolition, construction and occupation project for buildings on the site of the former Viger station and hotel. The developer, the limited partnership company DMC Viger International Inc., would like to create a mixed-use complex that would include hotel, commercial and residential sections. The renovated buildings and new constructions would combine a 227-room hotel, 126 housing units with hotel services, 163 residential units, commercial spaces on several levels, and a 1600-space underground parking garage. The creation of two open spaces, accessible to the public, is also planned. Located in part within the limits of the historic borough of Vieux-Montréal, the project is subject to approval by referendum.
The project would require amendments to the Master Plan and to the planning by-laws of the borough of Ville-Marie. The Office de consultation publique held consultations on the subject last fall. Over 275 citizens attended one or the other of the meetings, and the commission received 27 briefs over the course of its analysis. The commission believes that the redevelopment of the Viger site provides a unique opportunity to reweave the urban fabric of Vieux-Montréal to that of the Faubourg Québec, and found the project to be very well received by consultation participants. However, the planning concept is fraught with uncertainty, leading to reservations as to the scale of the project and its integration into the area. The absence of social housing and the issue of automobile circulation also raised questions.
The commission recognizes the merits of the desired density and mix of uses. It would like the proportion of commercial and residential functions to be defined in light of the commercial potential of the Montréal market and the needs of surrounding residents. Comments were also made about the height of the towers. Although the commission does not necessarily consider the presence of towers in a residential area to be incompatible with a neighbourhood on a human scale, it nonetheless believes that the integration of the towers into the urban landscape needs to be validated.
In terms of planning, the commission suggests that the City draw up a circulation management plan for the eastern part of downtown, taking into account all projects announced for the area, including the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal. The 1,600 parking spaces should be reduced to the number stipulated in the by-laws, i.e. 958 spaces, unless the circulation management study reveals that the extra spaces are necessary.
In more general terms, the commission believes that the City should finalize, as soon as possible, a master development plan for the eastern part of downtown, with a view to harmonizing the major projects to be established there.
The documentation pertaining to this consultation is always available on the Web site of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (www.ocpm.qc.ca). The report is also posted on the site, and hard copies of the document are available upon request at the offices of the OCPM.
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