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June 4, 2019

Facade of crumbling Esplanade heritage building in Montreal to be dismantled stone by stone



As reported in the Montreal Gazette, Quebec’s culture department has authorized the stone-by-stone dismantling of the facade of a Plateau-Mont-Royal heritage building that partly collapsed two weeks ago, forcing the evacuation of 40 neighbours.

Unless there are further snags in the decades-long saga over the 115-year-old building, that authorization means the property owner has until July 15 to complete the work.

“It’s good news from a heritage standpoint and a public-safety standpoint,” said Alex Norris, a Plateau city councillor and the borough’s interim mayor. “Public safety was uppermost in our minds because of the threat this building posed to neighbours.”

He said he’s “never happy to see a heritage facade dismantled, but all of the stones are going to be kept in a secure container on site and he’s required by court order to rebuild, so he really doesn’t have much choice.”

The authorization specifies that the work must be carried out by specialized masons and supervised by an engineer. The new building must recreate all the “architectural characteristics” of the demolished structure.

Norris said he hopes the authorization marks the beginning of the end of the battle over the greystone located on Esplanade Ave. between Mont-Royal and Duluth Aves.

“The negligence of the owner stretches back decades,” Norris said.

The once-stately home, which offers an impressive view of Jeanne-Mance Park and Mount Royal, has been empty since it was condemned in the mid-1990s.

Since then, it had decayed further, leading to constant complaints from neighbours. It has been surrounded by a safety fence since 2008. The Plateau borough has attempted to force the owner to renovate, culminating in a five-year battle to obtain an injunction.

The Montreal Gazette was unable to reach the owner, Guy Desrosiers, who bought the building in the 1970s.

Keep reading in the Montreal Gazette


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