After several months of uncertainty and twists and turns, the Le Boulevard shopping center will not close its doors when it is purchased by the Society de Transport de Montreal (STM) in December, which will expand the blue line. Good news for district customers and specific traders.
Transport Minister Chantal Rowley made the announcement on Friday. The ministry said a solution had been provided to prevent the closure of a boulevard for shopping center tenants bordering the Saint-Michel and Saint-Leonard sectors.
The team of experts suggested modifying the terminal size, parking area and storage space for construction equipment to keep Le Boulevard in operation. Access to the building can also be reconfigured.
“To this day, the Quebec Ministry of Transport (MTQ) and STM Le Boulevard want to carry on the commercial operations of the shopping center after the acquisition of STM”, we can read in the letter from the MTQ sent to the store tenants.
It also indicated that “a property manager will soon be appointed by STM to replace the current manager, Crafton Moore.”
On Friday, many customers were shopping on Boulevard. Some of the windows announcing the closure were plastered with yellow and black posters, with no indication that the shopping center was preparing to close its doors anytime soon.
“No one wanted to close it anyway,” said Liliana Rodriguez, an employee of children’s clothing store OK Kids. According to her, most of the customers are regulars in the mall. Most people who live in nearby seniors ’homes are happy to be able to walk there.
M working shopTo me Rodriguez had already moved.
Community spirit was evident in the mall. Vendors and customers of Claire France Boutique are pleased with the stability of this place.
“It simply came to our notice then [habite] Close, ”said Michelin Michad, a store employee. Suzanne Charbonno, a customer, said she was “very happy” with the announcement that she had come to shop with her friends at the mall.
The Claire France store is still unchanged. Shopping center tenants learned of the Boulevard closure a few days before Christmas.
Tarek C. Abella is shopping with his little boy, he is sipping Mud Next to him. “This is our peace paradise, this center,” Mr. C. Abela said. For him, Le Boulevard also has sentimental value.
“It reminds me of the first days we came here, it reminds us a lot of things. It’s nostalgic,” Dad explained.
For Stephanie Vazina, owner of the Olivine Jewelry Store, Friday’s announcement did not dispel recent months of concern.
“I do not know how to react anymore. I have been looking for a place for eight months. I can not sleep, I ‘m anxious, because this is my future, this is my job, I have children,” she said, tears in her eyes.
She did not welcome Boulevard’s survival as a guarantee for the future. “Is the campus empty? Are there going to be businesses? If I decide to stay, I don’t want the center to be even half empty,” the owner said.
Winding land grab
The purchase of Boulevard by STM has created many ups and downs. The company initially wanted to buy a third of the shopping center with the aim of setting up a Pie-IX metro station as part of the Blue Line extension. Construction of a high-speed bus system on Boulevard Pi-IX is also planned.
However, STM was forced to acquire the entire land for $ 115 million following a decision by the Quebec Administrative Tribunal (TAQ).
The mall owner, real estate company Krafton Moore, believed that it was impossible to operate Le Boulevard properly without a third party in the corner of Rou Jean-Talon Est and Boulevard PI-IX.
Krafton Moore boss Mitchell Moss tried to persuade the government not to seize his building, was unsuccessful, reports Tap Last May1.
In February 2020, TAQ finally decided that MTQ, which was responsible for acquiring the land on behalf of STM, should buy the entire building.
The Boulevard purchase raised bills associated with the construction of the Blue Line. The actual budget planned for 2018 has almost quadrupled, and now it has reached $ 1.2 billion2, Unveiled Tap.