Alcan House recognized as a heritage building
Published Thursday, February 23, 2017 10:03PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 24, 2017 8:11AM EST
The Alcan House holds a special place in Montreal's architectural history and now that history is being recognized.
It combines three 19th century homes - Atholstan House, the Beique, and Holland House -- with the Berkeley Hotel, designed by the Maxwell brothers in 1912.
In the 1980s architects merged the buildings with an expansion into new headquarters for Alcan.
Heritage experts were worried about what would happen when Alcan sold the building to Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté last year.
"Everybody wants this to be treated not as a dying site but we want it to be alive again and beaming but do it in a way that is saying there is a succession," said Dinu Bumbaru of Heritage Montreal.
Laliberté's original intent was to erect office towers next to the building.
"As an entrepreneur you are looking to clarify what is the environment in which you will be able to build a future," said the billionaire.
That idea worried many people who appealed to the provincial government to protect the building.
After months of discussions between Lune Rouge (Laliberté's company) the province and the city, the Alcan House is now a heritage building.
Phyllis Lambert, of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, is glad an arrangement was worked out.
"This collaboration between Heritage Montreal, citizens, the city and of course the developer is extremely important and there are quite a few projects that are starting to work this way," said Lambert.
Lune Rouge will soon move 150 employees into the building and make it its headquarters.
"I like to think I will add on the history of this entire historical thing. We're talking about hundreds of years of history so if I could leave my little mark through Lune Rouge creative gesture in the architectural sense or in the creative sense I'll be happy," said Laliberté.
The exact plan for the space has yet to be determined, but the Alcan House will remain intact.