Who in this city does not have a theory about the ongoing miserable state of the block of St. Catherine between Closse and Chomedy? The strip, which once contained the Seville theatre, a laundrymat, a couple of restaurants, a bar, a market and so forth, has - over about 25 years - slowly descended to a shell of nothingness lined with inexplicably cheerful Inuit panhandlers.
Meanwhile relative prosperity reigns on all sides, north is home to a posh apartment complexes, west is Westmount and east is miles of thriving downtown shopping strip.
About five years back Claridge Inc - aka Stephen Bronfman, son of Charles, last remaining Bronfman Montreal male - had big plans to transform the empty areas into an eco-friendly residential and commercial development. They bought up the land and hired big name eco-friendly builders and made big presentations about the idea. The concept was to have 40 percent commercial, 14 percent residential, 12 percent offices and some common space. It was to have geothermal heating, solar chimneys, passive solar heating, hollow walls, green walls, green roof, waterwalls and a lot of other cutting edge enviro friendly stuff. The problem apparently was that the big enviro-chains just werent that keen on setting shop there and supposedly Bronfman took a big hit in his wealth when his portfolio went down. Sad story.