Blue line expansion hits another snag with expropriation fight over Anjou parking lot
MONTREAL -- It’s been talked about for what seems like forever, but now the planned expansion of Montreal’s blue metro line appears to have hit yet another snag.
The extension is meant to head east, connecting St. Michel to Anjou with a new stop next to the Galeries d’Anjou.
If the STM has its way, a chunk of the parking lot at that massive shopping mall would disappear and be replaced by a metro station and bus terminus.
The problem is that some other people had plans for that space.
The developer Cadillac Fairview owns the mall and wanted to build on the lot—one day.
“There could be some condo units, apartments, family units, social housing, affordable housing,” said Brian Salpeter, the company’s senior vice president.
“A major office component” is another possible component, he added. “We’re looking to try to build an office campus to attract businesses and jobs to the east end.”
Whatever it ends up being, an STM station is not compatible, Salpeter said.
“What we have to avoid is turning this into an open-air bus terminus, major transit hub,” he said. “We’ve seen, unfortunately, terrible examples that have been done in the past where it really prevents any development.”
The STM says it’s been trying to work things out with the developer and has been in negotiations for over a year, and the company is contesting the notice of expropriation in court.
On Tuesday, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said she wants to pass a special law to speed up the expropriation process.
But Anjou representatives are also against the project, saying the construction project will create negative economic ripple effects.
“With the project that the STM is proposing, we might as well close the Galeries d’Anjou for the next five years,” said Anjou Mayor Luis Miranda, who predicted “5,000 people losing their jobs.”
But he said that like Cadillac Fairview, he was also concerned about the idea that the metro station could “handicap future development” of the whole site.
The millions the STM would need to hand over to take over the land, said Miranda, is less of an incentive and more of an indication that it’s not feasible.
“Just for the expropriation, the STM put aside $500 million,” he said.
“Their project right now, yes, they’re going to have to expropriate a lot, and we’re saying ‘No, that’s not the way to go.'”