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Longtime mechanic forced out of Griffintown garage to make way for new highrise tower


For 40 years, Serge Attar has been working at his Griffintown garage on l’Inspecteur Street.

It's tucked away just steps from the heart of downtown, but his days there appear to be numbered.

"I’m shocked because I've been here for 40 years. This is a big problem for me," he said Tuesday.

He recently received a notice from his landlord explaining that his lease is terminated and he has to vacate the building by March.

"I need to find one place. [But] it’s very hard because they have nothing downtown. My clientele is here," he told CTV News.

The building where he's worked for decades will soon be demolished to make way for an 18-storey tower that will consist of 300 units dedicated to student housing.

"We chose to build something that's slim and vertical, contributing to the downtown skyline, but also freeing up space for trees and more space at the street level," said Laurent Levesque, executive coordinator and co-founder of UTILE, a non-profit organization that develops affordable student housing.

The developer says the units will be rented at cost and despite the size of this project, it's not enough to meet the demand.

"We estimate that there's many thousands, probably over 10,000 units of affordable student housing that are needed in the city," Levesque said.

Shaun Fawcett lives across the street from where the building will go up. Even though he lives in Griffintown, he's concerned about the height.

"We don't mind student housing at all. It's the fact that they're proposing an 18-storey tower is the issue," Fawcett said.

"Here's a very historic Rodier building right over there, which is designated a historical building in the Montreal area. It's two storeys high and all of a sudden this 18-storey tower is going to be right beside it, dwarfing it."

In a statement, the Valérie Plante administration said it is more urgent than ever to develop innovative real estate projects.

The city says student housing is part of a plan to create a mixed-living environment outlined in a consultation report from last year. It also says it is sensitive to the concerns of certain citizens, but the project has significant support from the community.

But Attar says the neighbourhood is losing his service.

The developer is still waiting for final approvals but hopes to start construction this summer with a projected completion date of 2026. Top Stories


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