A historic heritage railway building, abandoned for years, is finding new life as a community space in Pointe-St-Charles.

The industrial warehouse has been renovated with everything from an arcade to a microbrewery, as well a community fridge and grocery store, all to better serve the community, said Gabrielle Gerin, chair of the Batiment 7 project.

“There are two big grocery stores, one is the Costco, the other is the Maxi, that are maybe in a 20 minute range, which is pretty far for people who can walk to the grocery store,” she said.

Batiment 7 is located on the old CN Railway grounds in a building once owned by Alstom Canada. The building was almost converted in a casino, until the community stepped in, according to project leader Kevin McMahon.

“We received a lot of criticism, saying that we were just against any development, but no here we’re presenting our counterproposal,” he said.

There is still work to be done, particularly on a community bike and car repair shop.

“We’re moving into also having a collective space to assemble and grow our own food,” said Gerin. “That’s a big part of this project, is to gain autonomy at the food level.”

The building will also be home to an art school for workshops with local students.

“Our mission is to bring art and culture to all ages,” said Pointe-St-Charles Art School’s Catherine Wells. “All walks of life in the community, so we fit in with their mission to be open.”

Also in the plans: a daycare, birthing centre and an alternative medicine co-op in the near future, as well as an urban farm for growing produce.